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1, 3. and 5 BOKD STKEET. 


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Copyright, 1884, 


This "Autobiography" was written up to, and in- 
cluding, the year 1863, by ray late father, just two 
months prior to his death, while on a visit to the Hon. 
D. L. Yulee, at Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The " Story " 
is completed from letters written by him to my mother 
during his visits to Europe. 

To further show the noble character of the man, even 
as a boy, I have appended a few letters written to his 
then "sweetheart" while a student at college. I feel 
under many obligations to my friend Judge Mackey, of 
Washington, for his able introduction, as well as many 
valuable suggestions during the preparation of this work. 

H. Marion-Sims, M. D. 

267 Madison Avenue, New Yoek, July 26, I884. 



Introduction 9 


My antecedents — Their origin — Life and death of my father and 

mother 29 


Lydia Maekey and Colonel Tarleton — An episode of the Revolution- 
ary War 44 


My early school experience and first love — My parents remove to Lan- 
caster — Founding of Franklin Academy — My first lie — The story 
of the crooked pin 54 


I start to college and get homesick — My first experience with wine 

not a success ... 80 


History of dueling in South Carolina — The killing of Adams and Co- 
lumbus Nixon — The Blair-Evans duel, how it was prevented — 
The Massey-Mittag encounter 88 


College days continued — A midnight serenade — Almost a murder — 
The class of 1831 — Its personnel — Class of 1832 — Cole's visit 
from a ghost — Fire at the college — Cole's heroism . . . 100 



I graduate from college and choose a profession — My father's disap- 
pointment — 1 begin the study of medicine — The masquerade ball 
and theatre 113 


Attending lectures — I start for Philadelphia and enter Jefferson Medi- 
cal College — Small-pox among the students — Professor McClellan 
— Professor Patterson — I graduate 126 


I begin the practice of medicine — My first patient — My second — I leave 

Lancaster and go to Mount Meigs — My first success . . .139 


The Seminole war — A journey to Philadelphia and New York — An 
experience in Charleston — An expedition against the Creek In- 
dians — A sickly season — An attack of fever . . . .162 


My courtship — Obstacles and difficulties — My secret engagement — My 

marriage 1*7*7 


I think of abandoning the profession — A severe attack of fever — My 
wife and children ill with fever — I resolve to seek a new home — 
Journey to Lowndes County — Final determination to settle in 
Montgomery 192 


Numerous surgical cases — Successful treatment of a hare-lip — I write 
a description of the case for the " Dental Journal " — I am induced 
by Dr. Ames to publish accounts of all my surgical cases — My 
dislike for compositions at college, and an experience in con- 
sequence 209 



An interesting case of trismus nascentiuni — My discovery of the cause 
of the disease — Case of vesico-vaginal fistula — An accidental dis- 
covery — A series of experimental operations — Disappointments 
and final success 222 


Am prosperous and happy — Death of my second son, followed by a 
severe attack of diarrhoea — Go to New York without benefit — 
Recommended to go to Cooper's Well, where I find relief — Return 
of the disease — Go North again — Return in improved health — 
Recurrence of the disease — Threatened with death . . . 24*7 


Settling permanently in New York — Plan of a woman's hospital — Pre- 
pare to lecture — Coolness and neglect of members of the pro- 
fession — In desperate circumstances 2G7 


A friend in need — I lecture before the medical profession — Action of 
the profession — Plan for organizing a woman's hospital — Aid of 
Mrs. William E. Dodge, Mrs. Doremus, and Mrs. Codwise — The 
hospital established 2*78 


Recurrence of my old sickness — My assistant at the hospital — Charter 
of the Woman's Hospital, and obstacles overcome in procuring a 
site for a new structure 296 


My reception in Dublin — Visit Dr. Simpson at Edinburgh — Go to Paris 
— Perform operations at the Paris hospitals, and furore in con- 
sequence — Successful operations in Brussels — An extreme case of 
vesico-vaginal fistula successfully treated — A patient from the 
south of France operated upon — Startling result from use of chlo- 
roform, and method of resuscitation 307 




I sail from New York and return to Paris — Become physician to the 
Duchess of Hamilton — Death of the Duke of Hamilton — The em- 
peror and empress — Anecdotes of Trousseau . ... . 328 


Letters from Dublin and Paris to my wife — Social Science Congress — 
Made knight of the Order of Leopold the First — Military review 
in Dublin — Ignorance of French surgeons — Operations in Paris 
and London — The political situation in America .... 343 

Appendix I. — Letters 3tf9 

" II. — Meeting of the Medical Society of South Carolina . . 422 
" III. — Tribute to the late James Marion Sims, M. D., by W. 0. 

Baldwiu, M. D 425 

" IV. — Report of the Memorial Meeting of the Medical Society 

of the District of Columbia 449 


While the casual reader might deem the following 
autobiography incomplete, since it terminates nearly 
twenty years prior to the death of its illustrious author, 
yet, for all the really useful purposes of a life-record, 
it is, like the great character whose trials and triumphs 
it records, fully rounded. It includes the year 1863, 
at which date he had received general and authoritative 
recognition, both in Europe and America, as the fore- 
most clinical surgeon of the age. The honors and re- 
nown that followed, in later years, were but the natural 
sequence of the work that he has so graphically re- 
corded. Under the simple title of " The Story of my 
Life," he has in the most fitting terms narrated the 
origin and growth of those achievements which, by 
the general judgment of enlightened men, have stamped 
him as a benefactor of his race. From that " Story " 
the reader will perceive that the path he trod to final 
and deserved success was not strewed with roses. 

In the early period of his career in New York, it 
was almost his fate to furnish a memorable illustration 
of the historic fact that every pillar in the great tern- 


pie of Truth rests upon the grave of a martyr. True 
genius, however, like the moss of Iceland, flourishes 
best beneath the snow. Dr. J. Maeion Sims never lost 
" heart of hope," even in the darkest vicissitude of his 
life. Like the Greek wrestler, Antseus, he arose with 
renewed strength after every fall. Never did he once 
lower his lofty crest, but, while his feet were sorely 
wounded by the thorns that beset his daily path, he 
kept his sublime head amid the stars. Of all profes- 
sions the medical is slowest to welcome the reformer. 
It has always stood to the rearward of reform. The 
reason is obvious. Its theories are translated into action 
upon the living human body, and, as it deals with vital 
problems, it accepts with caution a novelty in theory 
that might prove mortal in practice. 

Hence the great Cullen was severely reproached, 
for a time, because of his novel views in obstetrics. 
The immortal John Hunter, after announcing his great 
lecture on comparative anatomy, through the press, 
found but a "beggarly account of empty boxes" when 
the hour for its delivery arrived. His servant-man was 
his only auditor, and the great anatomist said to him, 
" William, take that male skeleton down from the wall, 
and place it in a chair beside you, in order that I may 
begin my lecture by saying gentlemen with grammatical 

Jenner, when he introduced vaccination as a prophy- 
lactic against small-pox, was gravely accused of propa- 
gating, by such means, the very disease that he was 


endeavoring to prevent. Harvey's now universally ac- 
cepted theory of the circulation of the blood encountered 
trenchant criticism for many years, and even so enlight- 
ened a publicist as Sir William Temple not only refused 
to accord it any credence, but denied that Harvey was 
its originator. Coming down to our own times, we find 
that, as late as 1850, Sir James Y. Simpson, of Edin- 
burgh, the great clinical surgeon, not only had to en- 
counter the dissent of the profession when he published 
his " Notes on the Inhalation of Sulphuric Ether in the 
Practice of Midwifery," but he was anathematized from 
the pulpit, as opposing the revealed will of God, declared 
in the primal curse upon woman, "In sorrow shalt 
thou bring forth children." This extreme conservatism 
of his profession, in the matter of reform, exhibited 
itself at its maximum toward Dr. Sims upon his advent 
in New York, in May, 1853. It was conspicuous and 
severe, however, only among its recognized leaders. 
That was doubtless upon the principle that mountains 
are coldest at the top. 

It is due to the medical profession to state the fact, 
which history attests, that no class of men render more 
exalted and unreserved tribute to the reformer, when 
the value of his discovery, or improvement, has been 
shown by actual demonstration. The deliberate and 
impartial judgment of the majority, once expressed as 
to the merits of a contemporary physician or surgeon, 
has never been reversed. Yet its justice is tardy, and, 
like the sun, it moves slowly in its orbit. Where it 

:_ _::_ stoey of xy life. 

does not actively antagonize, it unconsciously, as it were, 
obstructs the advai:: : /T::":_^atory movement by its 
ms iaerthti. Tins is f oreibly exemplified by the fact that 

Tiongb. Dr. Sims had as early as 154:9 :-ured a large 
number of eases of vesico-vaginal fistula, and had pub- 

:ed his famous paper on that subje - ..-_- _.. 

method of operating, and applying his silver suture to 

ire the result, in the a American Journal of Medical 
: ~ .unary. 1852 - " if ra left for him, in 
peisoiiy in I irate ;a the first case of veaL: - 

vaginal fistula ever cured in the aty : Kiev T : rk. 

But i nore impressive illustration is found in 

the fact that although he discovered, in lSio, the only 
effective method of curing trismus nascentium, and 
revealed it to the profession, in the u American Journal 
e£ Medial Sciences," in 18H md subsequently pub- 
lished Ikis ** Essay on tie Pathology and Treatment of 
7 : : - 2~ ■ -■: r i:ium, or Lock-jaw of Infants." in 1861 
yet that method hai :eei rr ~r rally rejected, and has 
€»Iy been fully vin 1 - its author. 

In Januar ~ I - -. Dr. J. F. Hartigan. a surgeon of de- 
~<z7- ■:■■':-- 'zl^L r-rT :"c iz :Lr :: _ 7 ::' ~^~i.?l--_- :i. I. f'.. 
published an admirable monograph in the u American 
Journal of Medi * -: _ /-r- I:.-:_:-l" jcen- 

tium its Bjstory, Cause, Prevention and Cure.*' That 
_ :: rraph contains a rep« : " i :wo hundred and twen- 
ty^iine cases, and jwrf m& riem examinations occurring 
in the I>istriet of Columbia, and presents the result 
of fire years devoted with signal assiduity and success 


by Dr. Hartigan to the elucidation of this momentous 

Referring to the diagnosis of his earliest cases, Dr. 
Hartigan writes in his. monograph : " The extravasation 
observed in the posterior part of brain and spine, and 
the relative situation of the bones externally, now at- 
tracted attention. It was found that there was usually 
a depression, or that one side was overlapped by the 
parietal bone. Here, then, was rational ground for the 
process of deduction or induction. 

" Did these appearances demonstrate cause and ef- 
fect ? viz., mechanical pressure of the occipital or parietal 
bones on the brain, through the intervening dura mater, 
finally expending its force on the pons, medulla ob- 
longata, and the nerves issuing therefrom — a theory 
which I soon found had been advanced over thirty years 
before, by Dr. J. Marion Sims, then of Alabama f 

" Time has not changed the views of this distin 
guished gynaecologist, as I learn from a letter recently 
received from him, and I believe they will stand pre- 
eminent in the history of his great achievements, and 
their truth it will be my endeavor now to establish 
with some additional facts." 

He has established " their truth," by actual demonstra- 
tion in a long line of recorded cures, and the com- 
mendation which his timely monograph has received 
from the profession generally gives assured promise 
that the treatment of this disease, which stands first 
in the long catalogue of fatal maladies, will not hereafter 


be (in the language of Dr. Sims) " one of varied empiri- 
cism." In his autobiography, Dr. Sims refers to the 
fact that his doctrines in respect to the pathology and 
treatment of trismus nascentium had not been adopted 
or accepted by the profession at large, and adds : 
" Truth travels slowly, but I am sure that I am right 
— as sure as I can be of anything. That will be yet 
fully understood and appreciated by the profession." 

Dr. Sims, on learning by a letter from Dr. Harti- 
gan of his success in the treatment of trismus by the 
" Sims method," wrote him from Nice in April, 1882, 
in a spirit of just exultation : " You are the very 
man for whom I have been waiting — lo ! these thirty 
years ! " 

His was the exultation due to vindicated truth. 
The wise Athenians embodied in one brief line the 
history of the true reformer in every age, when they 
erected a monument to Time, and inscribed upon it, 
"To him who vindicates." 

As the purpose of this memoir is chiefly to supply 
such salient facts of general interest as transpired with 
reference to Dr. Sims, after the period embraced in his 
autobiography, which ends with the year 1863, though 
incidentally referring to a few later events, it has been 
deemed proper to present the following brief resume 
of his career and work after that date. While residing 
in London, in 1865, he published his " Clinical Notes on 
Uterine Surgery." That work was issued simultane- 
ously from the English, German, and French presses 


iii London, Berlin, and Paris, and its authority was 
at once recognized by the profession throughout En- 
rope and America. In his late memoir of Dr. Sims, 
the distinguished surgeon Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet, 
of New York, says of it with a nicer sense of justice 
than has marked some of his criticisms of his early 
benefactor, "Its publication was the turning-point of 
modern gynaecology, or, more strictly speaking, Ameri- 
can gynaecology, of which he may be justly termed the 

In 1870, while in Paris, he aided in organizing the 
Anglo-American Ambulance Corps, for service with the 
French army in the field during the Franco-Prussian 
War. He was surgeon-in-chief of the corps, with a 
staff of seven American and eight English surgeons. 
He arrived on the field of Sedan just before the bat- 
tle, and was placed in charge of a military hospital 
with four hundred beds. 

A report of the faithful and efficient service ren- 
dered by that corps, under the administration of Dr. 
Sims, has been published in London, by his first 
assistant therein, the eminent surgeon, Sir William 
McCormack. From that report it appears that the 
Anglo-American Ambulance Corps, with true humani- 
tarian spirit, rendered great and essential service to 
both of the hostile armies, as, in addition to its vast 
number of French patients, it treated over a thousand 
wounded Prussians. 

Dr. Sims remained at Sedan a little over a 


month, when, the work of his immediate hospital 
being completed, he resigned his position, and was 
succeeded by his son-inrlaw, Dr. Thomas T. Pratt, 
f onmerly of Alabama, bnt now a surgeon in Paris, 

lance Corps. Soon afha severing thai same .::._. 
Dr. Sims returned to the United States, and in 
January. 1872, was appointed a member : the Board 
of Surgeons of the ¥on^'= Hospital :: tike Slate 
of ISTew York. On May 1st :z thai - - he m_ 
tered upon the duties of that position, which he 
It.:: ~n.~rl Zzi:—-: 1. 1:"-. — Leu Lr r-enlrrtc Lis 
resignation, which was accepted. The point of dif- 
ference between Dr. Sims and the Board of Man- 
agers, that led to his resignation,, was one that 
— ..1L7 L7-T:'_-r~-i Lis 5- ,:-:'ri -:-::. A ii_vr izn.~ -7 :: 
surgeons both from abroad and resident, attended 
usually to witness Dr. Sims*s operations in that hos- 
pital. Such visitors were cordially welcomed by him, 
as, the greater the number of medical observers, the 
— Li-E-r i::::;: :Le ri^r :: :Lr ins.:- : rim :L;,: Lis 
:"'7r-i:i;r_s ::_:;::ri. 

Ehe board thereupon insisted upon the enforee- 
Mir7_: :: 1 n.r >:: :::■-:: :j ::fi ~_i:i Li_ii~ei :Le 
r_--":^r ::' -:<:;::,:: :s ::' nj ;_i r ; z^Tir. :n :■: L::--fr_. 

The reason of the rule, as urged by the board, 
was, that a due regard for the modesty of pa- 
tients demanded such restriction. The student of 
medical ethics will be sadly puzzled in the effort to 


divine by what occult process of reasoning the board 
arrived at the conclusion that a woman in a state 
of profound anaesthesia, or otherwise, would have her 
innate modesty more shocked by the presence of 
thirty observers than if only fifteen were gazing upon 
her. Although, for the reason above stated, Dr. Sims 
earnestly protested against the enforcement of such 
rule, not only as derogating from the value of the 
hospital as an agency for diffusing instruction in 
clinical surgery, but as violative of that immemorial 
usage that had constituted the attendant physician the 
"autocrat of the sick-chamber," the board adhered to 
its resolution, fixing " fifteen " as the limit of endur- 
ance, or " high-water mark " of woman's modesty. 

Dr. Sims, whose delicate appreciation of all the pro- 
prieties of professional life revolted at the arrogance 
of such an assumed censorship, tendered his resigna- 
tion, no doubt " more in sorrow than in anger." 

He could not but be deeply sensible of the fact 
that was known of all men, that he was the founder of 
the Woman's Hospital of the State of New York, 
and of its parent institution, the "Woman's Hospital 
Association. The ungracious and unwise action of the 
board was therefore, as to him, barbed with ingrati- 
tude. It must have led him to recall the story of the 
wounded eagle, whose pangs were increased when he 
saw that the arrow that quivered in his breast had been 
winged in its flight by one of his own plumes. 

The American Medical Association, by his election 


as its president in 1876, emphasized the approving 
sanction that the profession generally accorded to Dr. 
Sirns for his action in this matter. 

In February, 1877, he revisited for the last time 
the place of his birth, in Lancaster, South Carolina. 

No more trusty hearts or friendly hands ever greeted 
him than welcomed him back to the home of his boy- 
hood. They little thought that the head of the young 
physician, that forty-one years before had been bowed 
with humiliation at the loss of his first two patients, 
was destined to leave undying luster in the sky of both 
hemispheres, when it bowed to its final rest. 

Through all the intervening time that true-hearted 
people had watched his varied career with the deep- 
est interest, and they justly gloried in the fact that Gen- 
eral Andrew Jackson, the foremost American soldier, 
and Dr. J. Marion Sims, the foremost surgeon of his 
age, were both bom and reared in " Old Lancaster." 

Nor in the day of their sorest need had he been 
und mindful of them, while he was winning laurels on 
fields afar. 

In February, 1865, General "W. Tecumseh Sherman 
passed over that section with his army. That com- 
mander bore among his baptismal titles, as if in fore- 
cast of his military career, the name of a sanguinary 
Indian savage. The flames of defenseless cities and 
villages, the smoking ashes of homesteads and school- 
houses, were the monuments of his march through 
South Carolina. He reared those ghastly columns of 


his only victories in his own country and among his 
own people. 

Dr. Sims, on learning of the destitution that pre- 
vailed in his native county, forwarded five thousand 
francs from Paris for the relief of the most needy. 
He subsequently added to that benefaction a sum 
with which a spacious mansion and sixty acres of 
land were purchased, as a home for the helpless indi- 
gent. The building now shelters some forty needy 
inmates, and is known as " The J. Marion Sims Asy- 
lum for the Poor." Accompanied by his noble wife 
he spent ten. days in Lancaster. With her he there 
recalled the dear dead summers of the heart, amid 
the scenes of their early and only love. Ah ! well, 
indeed, did he pay high tribute to her exalted worth 
and preserve for fifty years, and up to the hour of 
his death, the rose she gave him there as the pledge 
of their plighted troth. 

He might in very truth have said of her, as Car- 
lyle wrote of the faithful companion of his life-strug- 
gles, a She was my angel, and unwearied comforter, 
and helper in all things, and shone round me, like a 
bright aureola, when all else was black and chaos." 

He went from Lancaster to Columbia, South Caro- 
lina, where he spent a few days, and made a filial 
visit to his alma mater, the old South Carolina College. 

Thence he went to Montgomery, Alabama. His 
return to that scene of his earliest professional suc- 
cess, where his genius had been fostered with a gen- 


erous hand, and where he had made his great discov- 
eries in surgery, was a real triumphal entry. He 
arrived on March 14, 1877, and was welcomed by the 
Medical and Surgical Society of Montgomery, and 
by the citizens generally, with joyful acclamations. 

The address of his old and honored friend, Dr. 
W. O. Baldwin, together with the response of Dr. 
Sims, on that occasion, form interesting additions to 
his autobiography, and are therefore included in this 

Soon after this brief pilgrimage to the South he 
returned to New York, and in the following au- 
tumn again returned to Paris with his family. He 
was elected President of the American Gynaecologi- 
cal Society, and served in that capacity in the year 

While in New York, in the winter of 1881, he 
was attacked with pneumonia, which nearly proved 
fatal, his recovery being due only to his strong vital- 

It left deep traces upon his constitution, seriously 
affecting his left lung, although in a few months he 
apparently recovered from its effects. 

In speaking of it, he was wont to say, "But 
for that attack of pneumonia, I would probably have 
lived to the age of ninety." 

It did not in any degree abate his untiring energy. 
His great intellectual forces, which he kept in cease- 
less activity, compared with his by no means robust 


body, suggested the idea of a bright and keen Da- 
mascus sword-blade, constantly cutting through its 
incasing scabbard. 

It should be stated also that, in 1881, Jefferson 
University, Pennsylvania, conferred upon him the mer- 
ited degree of Doctor of Laws. He again left for 
Europe early in 1882, and remained in Paris until 
August, 1SS3, when he returned with his family to 
New York. 

He visited Washington, D. C, October 28th, and 
spent three days in pleasant communion with his 
many professional and personal friends at the national 
capital. He regarded Washington as one of the most 
healthy cities in the world, and in view of its social 
and climatic advantages he determined to make it 
his home. For that purpose he purchased a building- 
lot in one of the most attractive parts of the city, 
intending to have erected a suitable mansion upon it, 
and after two or three years more of active practice 
to rest from his labors, and to find there that re- 
pose which every man should seek to obtain, some- 
where, between the cradle and the grave. 

The title-deeds to that property were executed 
but three days prior to his death. His intention was 
to start for Southern Europe on November 8th, as 
he feared the rigor of our Northern winter, and 
he purchased tickets for himself and family on the 
steamer to sail that day. He was induced by the 
earnest appeal of friends to defer his departure to the 


17th of that month, in order that he might per- 
form a very delicate and difficult operation on Mrs. 

X , the wife of a prominent citizen of New York. 

He performed the operation with marked success, and 
was highly gratified at the result. The very favorable 
prognosis of that most complex case, together with 
his recent purchase of a most eligible site for his 
contemplated home in Washington, and the early 
prospect of his return to Europe, led him to exclaim 
the day before his death, while in the midst of his 
happy and most interesting family, " Well, this is one 
of the happiest days of my life ! " He returned to his 
home at No. 267 Madison Avenue about eleven o'clock 
on the night of November 12, from a visit to that 
patient. He complained of feeling a slight chill, and 
his wife handed him a little whisky and water, which 
he drank at her suggestion. He had a strong aver- 
sion to alcoholic stimulants in every form, and said to 
her, " You will never get me to take another dose 
of that abominable stuff as long as I live." He re- 
tired, but was very restless and unable to sleep. He 
said to his wife, " Place your hand over my heart, 
and feel how it beats." He soon after arose and, sit- 
ting up in bed, proceeded to make memoranda of 
matters that would require his attention on the fol- 
lowing day. After he had been thus engaged for some 
time, as she had often to guard him against overwork 
by her amiable coercion, she put out the light, say- 
ing, "Now I will see if you will stop writing." 


He continued, however, to jot down memoranda 
for a little while longer, and then reached over to a 
glass of water that was near bjj and drank a little of 
it. As he replaced the glass, he sank back, and began 
to breathe very hard. His watchful wife saw at a 
glance that he was breathing with great difficulty, 
and instantly summoned her son, Dr. H. Marion 
Sims from an adjacent room. He arrived quickly, 
but came too late. 

The great surgeon, the evangelist of healing to 
woman, had met his God. The worker was at rest. 
Dr. Sims states in his autobiography, with a mild 
tinge of superstition, that the 13th of the month was 
always a "lucky date" with him, and with good rea- 
son he esteemed " 13 " his lucky number. 

He instances his birth in 1813 ; he graduated at 
college on the 13th ; he left Lancaster for Alabama 
on the 13th; and he arrived in New York on the 

To those coincidences, the mournful addition must 
be made that he died at about fifteen minutes past 
three o'clock on the morning of November 13th, 1883. 

It proved, indeed, a fortunate day for him, for it 
was that on which his "mortal put on immortality." 

The ancient Romans declared that " Sudden death 
is given only to the favorites of the gods." 

Up to the hour of Dr. Sims's death, his hand had 
not lost its skill or his eye its brightness. All of his 
mental faculties were in full vigor, and, although he 


had nearly rounded his seventy-first year, time had 
written scarce one wrinkle upon his brow. 

He was about five feet eight and a half inches in 
height, his figure well molded, and though delicate 
yet not without some degree of robustness. His car- 
riage was erect, with somewhat of a military bearing, 
and his step quick though well measured. His face 
was oval, his nose approaching the Grecian type. He 
had clear, but deep-set eyes, which were, like the origi- 
nal color of his hair, of a deep brown. His eye-brows 
were heavy, and well curved. His mouth was admir- 
ably formed, the lips being of medium fullness, the 
lower lip somewhat the fuller, indicating decision of 
character. His smile was one of kindly sweetness. His 
head was rather below than above the average size, 
and its unusual height in proportion to its circumference 
pointed to his Gaelic origin, for, through his mother, 
the blood of the MacGregors of McAlpin coursed full- 
proof in the veins of their descendant. His tout en- 
semble suggested, in all respects, Sir John Bell's ideal 
of the qualities necessary in a truly great surgeon — 
" The brain of an Apollo, the heart of a lion, the eye 
of an eagle, and the hand of a woman." 

He was brave without being aggressive, though al- 
ways ready, on proper occasions, to assert the " courage 
of his convictions." His manliness of nature was joined 
to the most tender sensibility and trusting simplicity — 
the strong pinions of the eagle folded around the warm 
heart of the dove. 


He gave largely in private charity, rather consider- 
ing the needs than the merits of those who sought his 
aid. In this respect it may be justly said of him : 

" And e'en his failings leaned to Virtue's side." 

He always had a long roll of charity patients. He 
" heard the cry of the poor,'- and freely gave to them 
the ministrations of his matchless skill. 

"Well, indeed, has the Christian derived from the 
grand profession which Dr. Sims adorned that most 
endearing title of onr Divine Master — -"The Great 
Physician." No class of men give as much unrequited 
labor to relieve the sufferings of the poor. 

He had a lofty scorn of hypocrisy in every guise. 
It was the inflexible rule of his life to seem what he 
was and to be what he seemed. He was a hearty hater 
when smarting under a sense of injury, but ever quick- 
ly forgave the regretted wrong that was done him. 
He was true as well as brave, and never turned his 
back on friend or foe. 

His chivalric spirit came to the front in 1877, when, 
in behalf of Dr. Crawford TV". Long, of Athens, Geor- 
gia, he established his claim to the high merit of being 
the discoverer of anesthgesia, by the inhalation of the 
vapor of sulphuric ether to produce insensibility to 
pain in surgical operations, as early as March, 1842. 

Dr. Long was then languishing in poverty and neg- 
lect, but the appeal of Dr. Sims procured him ample 
aid in his declining years. He was especially the 


kindly friend and patron of young men, always ready 
to encourage and aid them in the path of honorable 
effort. To women he was ever knightly and consider- 
ate, and woman in every station trusted in him with 
an unreserved faith, whether her heart beat beneath the 
royal purple of the queen or under the russet home- 
spun of the peasant. His mind was profoundly ana- 
lytic. Within the orbit of his investigations he traced 
every effect to its ultimate cause. 

His inventive powers were of the highest order. 
His fertility of resources made him equal to every 
emergency, and he either found a path or made one. 
He was pre-eminently a grateful man, and during his 
long life he left no favor unrequited. 

Henri L. Stuart, w T ho befriended him in the day of 
his need, " builded better than he knew," when, by his 
admirable tact, he enabled Dr. Sims to introduce him- 
self to the medical profession in New York. In after 
years Dr. Sims lavished his generous bounty on that 
uncouth but clever newspaper reporter. But, withal, 
he was an earnest Christian, not only by inherited faith, 
but from conviction based upon a profound study of 
the evidence that supports the sublime verities of Chris- 

His professional fame rests upon his treatment and 
cure of vesico-vaginal fistula, before his operation 
deemed incurable, he having invented and applied the 
silver suture to secure the result of such operation. 

Second : His invention of the speculum which bears 


his name — the most effective known — to enable the sur- 
geon to make a correct diagnosis in uterine complaints. 
In the memoir already cited, Dr. Emmet says of the 
" Sims speculum," " From the beginning of time to 
the present, I believe that the human race has not 
been benefited to the same extent, and within a like 
period, by the introduction of any other surgical instru- 
ment. Those who do not fully appreciate the value 
of the speculum itself have been benefited indirectly 
to an extent they little realize, for the instrument, in 
the hands of others, has probably advanced the knowl- 
edge of the diseases of women to a point which could 
not have been reached for a hundred years or more 
without it." 

Third : Upon his exposition of the pathology and 
true method of cure of trismus nascentium or the 
lock-jaw of infants. 

Fourth : Upon the established fact that he was 
the founder and organizer of The "Woman's Hospital 
of the State of New York, the first institution ever 
dedicated exclusively to the cure of the diseases of 

Fifth : Upon his many valuable contributions to 
medical literature. 

There survive him, his widow and his eldest son, 
Dr. Harry Marion Sims, of New York, and four daugh- 
ters, and a brother and two sisters. 

His youngest son, William, an amiable young gen- 
tleman, survived him but a little more than three 


months, and reposes by the side of his father in Green- 
wood Cemetery. 

Dr. J. Marion Sims has left a name that the world 
will not willingly let die. The members of the medical 
profession throughout the United States may truly ex- 
claim, on contemplating his great achievements, in the 
words of the inscription above the statue of La Place, 
in the hall of the French Academy of sciences : " We 
were not needed for h is glory • he was necessary to 

ours ! n 

T. J. M. 


My antecedents — Their origin — Life and death of my father and mother. 

Doctors seldom write autobiographies. They never 
have leisure, and their lives are not so full of adventure 
or incident as to be interesting to the general reader. 
It may be presumptuous in me to leave notes of my life ; 
but many of my friends have pressed me to do so. The 
first man who suggested it to me was the Hon. Henry W. 
Hilliard — statesman, jurist, divine, diplomatist — whom I 
knew very well when I lived in Montgomery, Alabama. 
In 1857 he came to see me in New York, and said the 
object of his visit was to tell me to begin to make notes 
of my life-work. He said he had been selected as biog- 
rapher of the late Hon. William C. Preston, who was 
so distinguished in South Carolina as jurist, orator, and 
statesman. He went to Columbia to get material for his 
work, which to him would have been a labor of love, 
could he have found enough on which to build the tem- 
ple of this brilliant, useful life. But he got only some 
political speeches delivered in Congress, and the record 
of his brief presidency of the South Carolina College, to 
which he had been called after his great intellect had 


been shaken by a paralytic attack. Mr. Hilliard said 
that he had noticed my rise and progress in my pro- 
fession while I lived in Montgomery, and had heard of 
the work I had done in Xew York, and he thonght it 
worthy of record. I was very much surprised, and 
blushed like a woman, and told him that all this was a 
matter of interest onlv to my wife and children. 

In later years I have often been requested by friends 
to write the story, and I have promised to do so. In 
1880, December 19, I was taken suddenly ill, and I 
sent for Dr. Loomis. who, when asked what was my 
malady, said, " I am sorry to say you have pleuro- 

" ^Tell," I replied, " I shall die on Wednesday or 
Thursday ; certainly by Thursday, the fifth day. I am 
sixty-eight, and pneumonia kills all old men among us 
in from three to five days. Tery few recover at my 
time of life. I am ready to die, but my life's labors 
are not finished. If I had completed my book, and 
if I had left notes of an autobiography, as I have 
promised so many of my friends, then my life would 
have been rounded up, and I would now have nothing 
more to do but fold my arms and die." But for- 
tunately my life was spared. Skillful management 
and inherited vitalism carried me through ; and, after 
two years of care and effort, I regained my health. 

In May and June, 1883, I had under my profes- 
sional care a very dear young friend, whom I had 
known from early girlhood. She had been an invalid 


for a long time, and was a bed-ridden sufferer. I 
made her frequent visits daily, as I saw that moral 
management was of great importance in the treatment 
of her case. During one of these social visits, when I 
was in the habit of drawing her away from herself by 
talking of topics of the day, she asked me a question 
about myself ; when I replied " Oh, that is one of my 
life stories. You know life is a series of little stories 
which, when all strung together, make the complete 
story of the life. I have no time to-day, but to-morrow 
I will tell you all about it." When the morrow came, 
and the story was told, she asked other questions of a per- 
sonal character. And thus she catechised and cross-ques- 
tioned me, day after day, and at last she even wished 
me to tell the story of my courtship and marriage. 
At this I rebelled ; but she insisted, and so she had her 
own way. It all ended in my agreeing to write out 
the life-notes in their smallest details. I am now sur- 
prised to see what an influence this poor little sick girl 
exerted over me in this regard ; for, if I had done this 
work five years ago, I would only have given an ac- 
count of my struggles and successes, and left out the 
inner man, the personal life. 

I have now made a long apology for promising to 
write this life. But I have felt recently more justi- 
fied in it by Mr. Ruskin's preface to u The Story of 
Ida." He says: "The lives we need to have written 
for us are of the people whom the world has not 
thought of — far less heard of — who are yet doing most 


of its work, and of whom we may learn how it can 
best be done." 

It is a trite saying, that " every life is a poem, be it 
long or short." Mine has been a real romance, full 
of incident, anxiety, hope, and care; some disappoint- 
ments, and many successes, with much sickness and 
sorrow ; but it has also been full of joy, contentment, 
and real happiness. 

I was born in Lancaster County, South Carolina, 
the_25th of January, 1813, about ten miles south of 
the village of Lancaster, and a mile or more west of 
the old wagon-road from Lancaster to Camden. The 
ancestors of my father, John Sims, were of the Eng- 
lish colonists of Virginia. My mother, Mahala Mackey, 
was the daughter of Charles and Lydia Mackey, of 
Scotch-Irish origin. The family came to America about 
1740. My paternal great-grandfather, Sherrod Sims, was 
born in Yirginia, 1730. I remember the date well, be- 
cause he told me he was at Braddock's defeat (1755), 
and that he was then twenty-five years old. He served 
through the Revolutionary War, and afterward removed 
from Yirginia with his family to the Beaver Creek 
neighborhood, in the southern part of Lancaster County, 
South Carolina. When I was ten or eleven years old, 
he showed me a document with Washington's name 
signed to it ; but I did not have sense enough to ap- 
preciate it, or care to know what it was. He was a 
tall, raw-boned, splendid old man, six feet high, when 
I saw him last, in 1824. He died of old age in 1825, 


at the age of ninety -five, having survived his wife 
twenty-five years. He had five or six sons and two 

Unfortunately, I never knew much of my father': 
family. He was an orphan, brought up to " rough 
it," working on the farm with the negroes, and he was 
the best worker among them. He never had much 
love for any of his uncles when he was a boy, for 
they were rather hard on him. So, when he was 
grown, and became the father of a family, he saw 
them but seldom, but always treated them well when 
any of them came to see him. I never saw but two 
of his uncles at his house, and that was after he was 
elected high sheriff, and came to be a power in the 

My father's family were all long-lived. Sherrod 
Sims, my great-grandfather, as before stated, lived to 
be ninety-five. His sons, Sherrod, Stephen, Ashburn, 
and the others, all lived to very old age. 

They were all tillers of the soil. My father was 
born 27th of December, 1790. He was married to 
Mahala Mackey, 19th of April, 1812. He never had a 
day's schooling till I was six months old. 

He was therefore over twenty-three when he went 
to school six months to Dr. Garlick, who lived at Lib- 
erty Hill; and he became an accomplished account- 
ant and book-keeper, and wrote a beautiful hand. He 
was tall, over six feet, well proportioned, and was con- 
sidered a very handsome man. He was one of the best 


of men. and best of husbands. I do not remember ever 
to have heard an unpleasant word between my father 
and mother. He was always poor, bnt always lived 
welL Being a public man, and well known from one 
end of the county to the other, he was obliged 
te treat/ 5 as was the habit of the country, to get votes, 
but he never drank himself. He kept the village hotel 
in Lancaster for several years, and was sheriff for four 
years (1S30-18M), which gave Mm occnpation and a 
living. He was also a surveyor, and his services were 
in great demand in all cases of disputed land-titles. 

When the war with the mother country broke out, 
in 1812, he volunteered, and his company, commanded 
by Captain Douglass, was ordered to Charleston, where 
it was encamped at HaddrelTs Point, in Charleston Har- 
bor. He went as subaltern, and became so proficient 
a disciplinarian that he rose to the command of his 
company. Soon after returning home he organized a 
volunteer corps of rifles. It was a splendidly drilled 
company. Kennedy Bailey was drummer, and Munson 
and Andrews nfers. The uniform of the company was 
grey home-spun jeans, made in the hunting-shirt fashion. 
It was literally home-spun, for it was made at home. 
Every industrious housewife at that time had her own 
spinning-wheel and loom. Mj mother, in early life, 
spun and wove the clothing for her husband and chil- 
dren. I never was so proud in all my life as when, 
a little boy, I marched with u Captain Jack Sims," as 
they called him, at ihe head of his Hnnting-Shirt Rifles. 


Colonel Witherspoon was then colonel of the Lancas- 
ter regiment of militia, and my father was his adju- 
tant. When Colonel Witherspoon resigned, my father 
succeeded him as colonel of the regiment; and Gov- 
ernor Miller and Governor Manning, at their annual 
reviews, in making little speeches to the regiment, al- 
ways told them that they were the best-drilled regi- 
ment, and that they had the best drill-officer, in their 
colonel, that could be found in the state ; and the Lan- 
caster people believed it. 

But this was before the days of railroads, telegraphs 
and newspaper reporters, and I have no doubt that 
governors always made the same stereotyped, laudatory 
speech at every review they held throughout the state. 

My father was a great marksman. At the age of 
seventy, with gun and dog, he would bag as many quail 
as the youngest shot in the country ; and with his rifle 
he could drop his deer, running, at a distance of one 
hundred yards. In his early life he was a great fox- 
hunter. He kept a pack of hounds of his own, and 
about the year 1827 he laid a wager of a hat with one 
of his fox-hunting friends, Colonel Patterson, of Liberty 
Hill, on the fox-hunting of one season, which I believe 
is from October to March. Colonel Patterson caught 
twenty and my father fifty-two and won the hai But 
he came near losing his life ; for, at the end of this 
dreadful winter's exposure in hunting, he got an attack 
of pneumonia, from which he barely recovered. His 
physician, Dr. Bartlett Jones, at once advised him to give 


up his hounds, and he did so, greatly to the happiness 
of my poor mother. But he never relinquished the 
quail and deer hunt, to which she had no objection. 

. He had another sporting habit, which I had al- 
most forgotten, cock-fighting. At that time cock-fight- 
ing was not in the hands of the roughs as it is now. 
Only the rich and^ cultured bred cocks for fighting, 
and, like fox-hunting, it was an expensive sport. The 
great cock-fighters of the country were the Davies, and 
Greens of Chester, Sims of Lancaster, Dr. Greene and 
Myers of Columbia, and some other gentlemen in 
Union County, and the Joneses and Aliens of Halifax, 
North Carolina. These gentlemen were all of purely 
English descent, and inherited this vicious sport from 
their English ancestors. Gentlemen now no longer in- 
dulge in it. It is in the hands of the uncultured and 
low and vulgar. I can imagine nothing more inhuman, 
cruel, and brutal, than the cock-pit and its deadly con- 

The t only real cause of unhappiness my mother ever 
had was the time wasted by my father in fox-hunting 
and billiard-playing. He excelled in billiards, and my 
mother instilled into me such hatred for my father's 
three great follies of life, that I have never seen a fox- 
hunt, nor played a game of billiards, nor bet on a cock- 
fight. In 1838 my father moved to Mississippi, where 
he tried farming, but did not succeed very well. In 
1853, he moved to New Waverly, "Walker County, 
Texas, where he lived with his eldest daughter, Mrs. 


John C. Abercrombie. His last days were spent with 
Mr. and Mrs. Abercrombie, in the midst of his children 
and grandchildren, beloved and honored by all who 
knew him. He was always a young man — never old. 
The young men of the country were his associates, and 
he always exercised & great and beneficent influence 
over young people. 

He was a high mason ; was master of the lodge in 
Lancaster, and lived up to the stern principles of the 
craft. He believed that a good mason was good enough 
for heaven. In his old days he joined the 'Methodist 
Church and became an exemplary Christian. (He was 
always one before he joined the church.) But he never 
deserted his masonic faith and works. 

There is now a masonic lodge in New Waverly, 
Texas, named in his honor, the " John Sims Lodge." 

~No man ever had warmer friends, and he was loved 
and honored wherever he lived. He had a military 
bearing, with courtly manners, was generous to a f a.ult, 
and kind to every one. He did not get rich when he 
was high sheriff, simply because in the kindness of his 
heart he assumed so many of the responsibilities be- 
longing to his office which he was obliged to pay in 
the end. 

No man lives as long as he should; the most of us 
die prematurely, even when we die in old age, because 
we violate some law of hygiene, or perpetrate some im- 
prudent act that lays the foundation ef disease which 
often terminates in death. The great philanthropist ^ 


Peter Cooper died at the age of ninety-three, bnt died 
prematurely, because he imprudently exposed himself, 
took cold, and got pneumonia, which he would not have 
had if he had taken ordinary care of himself. He ought 
to have lived to be one hundred or more. So with the 
distinguished surgeon James R. Wood, and many others 
whom I could mention. I have come near throwing 
away my own life several times, by imprudent exposures 
and unnecessary risks. Even the centenarian Captain 
Labouche, who died a few years ago in Xew York at 
the age of one hundred and eleven, died prematurely, 
because his life was sacrificed by an imprudent exposure, 
which at the time was wholly unnecessary, and by which 
he got cold and had pneumonia. I say that my father 
died prematurely at seventy-eight, because he did what 
had been better left undone. In the month of July, 
1867, he rode through a hot sun a distance of fifteen 
miles. After transacting his business he immediately 
returned home, making thirty miles in the saddle, and 
all this was done in the heat of the day. He stripped 
and stabled his horse, and then got his axe and went to 
cutting wood. There was not the least need of his doing 
this ; but he believed that every man should take so much 
strong exercise every day to insure good health. He 
was a great axeman, and delighted to display his skill 
with it to his grandchildren. After cutting away hard 
for a whole hour, he suddenly stepped back, dropped 
his axe, and looked around. His grandson, seeing that 
something was wrong, ran up to him, saying, " Grand- 


father, what is the matter ? You are sick ; come, go 
into the house with me." This was about twenty or 
thirty feet distant. "When he got there, my sister, Mrs. 
Abererombie, says he was paralyzed, and incurably so, 
aphasia having set in from the very beginning. He 
lived a year, but very miserably, for he could not write, 
nor co-ordinate his words so as to make himself under- 
stood. The rationale of the attack is this: He was 
already overheated and fatigued by his thirty mile ride 
in the hot sun, and the violent chopping overtaxed the 
heart and lungs, and threw the blood too forcibly to the 
brain. A blood-vessel gave way in the left side of the 
brain, front part; he was paralyzed on the right side, 
the. blood was extravasated and formed a clot, which 
produced, mechanically, all the symptoms of apoplexy and 
paralysis, with aphasia. And as all this occurred as the 
result of an imprudent and unnecessary act, I am justified 
in saying that my father died prematurely at the age of 
seventy-eight ; for I am sure that without this he would 
have lived to be ninety-five, as his grandfather did be- 
fore him. He had never lost a tooth, and was in perfect 
health; straight, erect, active, with every organ and 
function in normal condition. Even the strongest lose 
their lives by imprudent acts, while the weak and feeble, 
compelled to take care of their health, often live to ripe 
old age. 

Charles and Lydia Mackey had nine children. My 
mother, Mahala, was the youngest. She was born on 
the 2d of May, 1792, being about eighteen months 


younger than my father. She was a bright, pretty girl, 
with black eyes, fair skin, and red hair. I remember 
her as a handsome, middle-sized woman, with rich, au- 
burn hair. She was the best of wives, the best of 
mothers, and the most nntiring worker I ever knew. 
She was indeed a helpmeet for her husband. She spun 
and wove the cloth, and cut and made the clothes com- 
monly used at home, and did all her own housework 
in her early life. My father farmed it and kept a little 
country - store, and after a while got a few slaves, 
enough to take some of the hardest work off my mother's 
hands. He then moved from the Hanging-Rock Creek 
neighborhood, in 1S24, to Lancaster village. Here he 
entered on a new phase of life. He kept the village 
tavern. It had nice accommodation for travelers, was a 
bachelors' boarding-house, and headquarters of lawyers 
during court, which was held twice a year. My mother 
kept the house well, and my father prospered, notwith- 
standing his hounds and billiards. 

"When my mother was about ten years old she was 
sent to school to Mr. Elijah Croxton. This was in 1S02. 
The schoolhouse was in the pine woods, two miles from 
her father's house. It was a log cabin about twenty by 
twenty-five feet — made of pine logs six or eight inches 
in diameter. There was a window about two feet square 
at one end of the cabin, and but one door. That was 
on the side of the house looking east. On the opposite 
side one log, about three feet from the floor, had been 
cut out to admit light. This made a longitudinal open- 


ing twenty-two or twenty-three feet long and a foot 
wide. Just under this long opening there was a broad 
plank, eighteen or twenty inches wide, smoothly dressed, 
extending the length of the open window, securely fast- 
ened to the wall, and sustained by upright posts at each 
end of the plank and in the center. It made an ad- 
mirable writing-table. Here the advanced boys and 
girls, who were studying arithmetic and writing, sat with 
their backs toward the teacher — whose seat was just at 
the right of the door as you entered — while the smaller 
children, learning to spell and read, sat at either end of 
the cabin with their faces toward the teacher. The 
chinks or open spaces between the pine logs were cov- 
ered with boards nailed on outside. 

It was summer time. The students of arithmetic 
were permitted to go out and sit in the shade of the 
house, or under the trees, till they had worked out the 
sums allotted to them by the master. When this was 
done the pupils would come in, and the teacher would 
look over the slate, and, if the work was satisfactory, he 
ordered the pupil to transfer the sums from slate to 
copy-book. Mahala Mackey, on a hot, sweltering day, 
about 11 o'clock, came in with slate in hand. Mr. 
Croxton looked it over, and said "all right," and she 
took her seat about the middle of the long writing- 
table, with her back to the teacher, and began to copy 
her sums. The school was unusually quiet. It was the 
happy season of flies and bees and butterflies and toads 
and lizards and reptiles of that hot climate. A green 


lizard, or chameleon, which is green or brown as occa- 
sion requires, had been for an honr running around in 
the open spaces between the logs ; the logs had not been 
peeled, and the lizard's rapid running over the dry pine 
bark made a great noise. The antics of the cunning 
little lizard amused the little boys very much, and dis- 
tracted their attention from their books. They could 
not refrain from giggling, and the teacher called up two 
or three of the principal ones and flogged them. Soon 
after Mahala Mackey had settled down to her copy-book 
the impudent little lizard came rattling along the open 
space in front of her seat, and she, not knowing any- 
thing of what had happened that morning, grabbed and 
canght it by the tip of the tail, and, with a shriek, gave 
it a sling backward. Looking around, frightened at 
what she had done so automatically and undesignedly, 
what was her amazement when she saw the lizard hang- 
ing to the end of the teacher's nose, while he was knock- 
ing away, and crying out with pain at his fruitless efforts 
to tear it loose from its firm hold. It had caught him 
by the projecting end of the septum, which separates the 
two nostrils, and its teeth had gone through and locked. 
While Mr. Croxton was floundering and knocking away 
at the lizard, the frightened little red-headed Mahala 
shot out of the door, by the side of the teacher, and took 
to her heels, and ran bare-headed to her home, with 
greyhound speed. 

The next day her father went to see her teacher 
about the unfortunate occurrence of the previous day. 


Mr. Croxton's nose was very red and swollen, and lie 
seemed to look upon the affair as a personal indignity ; 
and, strange to say, lie refused to allow Mahala to return 
to the school unless her father would consent to his flog- 
ging her. Of course Charles Mackey was indignant, 
and refused to have his child punished for that which 
was so purely accidental ; and she never went to school 
to Mr. Croxton again. 

Indeed, it was with some trouble that the fiery 
Charley Mackey was prevented from thrashing the 
teacher. It is a common saying, " that whatever has 
happened once can happen again " ; but I hardly think 
it possible that another little school-girl will ever again 
toss a lizard so as to catch a school-master by the nasal 

My mother died at the age of forty, of common 
bilious remittent fever — a disease that is cured now 
with the greatest facility, but at that time was attended 
with great mortality, because they were ignorant of the 
method of cure. 


Lydia Mackey and Colonel Tarleton — An episode of the Revolutionary "War. 

In 1781 South Carolina was completely overrun 
by the British. Lord Cornwallis held quiet possession 
of Charleston ; had defeated Gates and De Kalb at 
Camden, driven Marion to the swamps of the Pedee, 
scattered the forces of Sumter, and established his 
headquarters in the Waxhaws, on the borders of 
Xorth Carolina, while Tarleton had his on the Hang- 
ing-Rock Creek, about thirty miles north of Camden. 
Davie alone was left with a small force on the west 
bank of the Catawba, making occasional sorties to 
harass the outposts of the British. 

The Scotch, Irish, and Huguenots of South Carolina 
were mostly Whigs or rebels. The English colonists 
were divided; the majority were Whigs, but there 
were a goodly number of loyal men among them, 
who conscientiously espoused the cause of the mother 
country, and were called Tories. Lancaster County 
was one of the strongholds of the Whigs. The 
McElwains, Truesdales, Douglasses, Cunninghams, Mc- 
Mullens, McDonalds, Mackeys, and others of Scotch- 


Irish origin, occupied and held the southern portion 
of Lancaster, and Charles Mackey was their acknowl- 
edged leader; while the Crawfords, Dunlaps, Jacksons 
(Gen. Jackson was then sixteen years old), Whites, 
Masseys, Dobys, Curetons, and others of the same stock 
held the Waxhaws, in the northern section of the 
county. The Whigs had always made Lancaster too 
hot for the Tories, and had ruthlessly driven them 
out of the county, to seek companionship and sym- 
pathy wherever they might find it. 

But the advent of the British turned the tide of 
war completely, and now the Tories, with Tarleton 
at their head, had driven the Whigs from Lancaster, 
some across the Catawba, to join Davie, and some to 
the Pedee, to join Marion. 

Charles Mackey, as the leader of his band, had 
made himself very obnoxious to the Tories, and they 
impatiently waited the time for vengeance. He was 
a man of medium size, very active and energetic, a 
fine horseman, splendid shot, hot-headed, impulsive, oft- 
en running unnecessary risks and doing dare-devil 
deeds. No work was too hazardous for him. Lydia 
Mackey, his wife, was a woman of good common sense, 
with clear head, fine judgment, and in her coolness 
and self-possession far superior to her impulsive hus- 
band. They had a young family of two or three chil- 
dren, and Charles Mackey had not seen or heard from 
them in several weeks. Their home was not more 
than two and a half miles from Tarleton's camp, on 


the Hanging-Rock Creek. He knew very well that it 
would be hazardous for him to return to his home, so 
near to Tarleton's headquarters ; but his anxiety became 
so great, on account of his wife's peculiar condition, that 
he could no longer remain in doubt about it ; so he 
cautiously made his way home, where he unwisely 
loitered for a week, and during this time he had the 
temerity to enter Tarleton's lines more than once, in 
search of information which would be valuable to his 
country's defenders. 

Charles Mackey's house was a double log cabin, 
with cultivated patches of corn and potatoes on either 
side of a lane leading to the front, while at the rear 
was a kitchen-garden of half an acre or more, extend- 
ing back to a large huckleberry swamp, which was 
almost impenetrable to man or beast. This swamp 
covered an area of ten or fifteen acres, and was sur- 
rounded by a quagmire from ten to thirty feet wide, 
thus making it practically an island. It was entered 
by jumping from tussock to tussock of moss-covered 
clumps of mold, a foot or two in diamater and rising 
six or eight inches above the black jelly-like mire, 
which shook in every direction in passing over it. A 
plank or fence rail served as a temporary draw-bridge, 
which was pulled into the swamp after passing over. 

When the county was infested by Tories, Charles 
Mackey spent his days in the swamp if not out scout- 
ing. At night, he ventured home. He had good 
watch-dogs, and they gave the alarm whenever any 


one approached, whether by night or day. If at night, 
he would immediately lift a loose plank in the floor 
of his bedroom, drop through on the ground, crawl 
out into the rear, then run thirty or forty yards across 
the garden, gun in hand, and disappear in the swamp, 
pulling his fence-rail draw-bridge after him. There 
was no approach to the house in the rear, and his 
retreat was always effected with impunity. 

Charles Mackey had been at home now about a 
week, and was on the eve of leaving with some valu- 
able information for the rebel generals, gained by his 
night prowliugs in and about the headquarters of 
Colonel Tarleton. But early in a June morning (an 
hour or two before day), his usually faithful watch-dogs 
failed to give warning of the approach of strangers, 
and the first notice of their presence was their shout- 
ing " Hallo ! " in front of the house. Mrs. Mackey 
jumped out of bed, threw open the window-shutters, 
stuck out her head, surveyed the half-dozen armed 
horseman carefully, and said, " Who is there ? " 

" Friends — Is Charley Mackey at home 1 " 

She promptly answered "No." Meantime, Charlie 
had raised the loose plank in the floor, and was ready 
to make for the swamp in the rear w T hen, stopping for 
a moment to make sure of the character of his visit- 
ors, he heard the spokesman say : 

"Well, we are very sorry indeed, for there was a 
big fight yesterday on Lynch's Creek, between Gen- 
eral Marion and the British, and we routed the d — d 


redcoats completely, and we have been sent to General 
Davie, at Landsford, with orders to unite with Marion 
at Flat Rock as soon as possible, and then to attack 
Tarleton. TVe do not know the way to Landsford, 
and came by for Charlie to pilot us." Mrs. Mackey 
was always cool and collected, and she said that " she 
was sorry that her husband was not at home." 

But her husband was just the reverse, hot-headed 
and impetuous. This sudden news of victory, after so 
many reverses, was so in accordance with his wishes 
that he madly rushed out into the midst of the mount- 
ed men, hurrahing for Marion and Davie, and shouting 
vengeance on the redcoats and Tories ; and he began to 
shake hands enthusiastically with the boys, and to ask 
particulars about the fight, when the ring-leader of the 
gang coolly said : 

" ^Tell, Charlie, old fellow, we have set a good 
many traps for you, but never baited 'em right till 
now. You are our prisoner." And they marched him 
off just as he was, without hat or coat, and without 
allowing him a moment to say a parting word to his 
poor wife. It was now nearly daylight, and they or- 
dered him to pilot them to Andy McElwain's, with 
the hope of capturing him too; but he was not at 
home. They then went to James Truesdale's and he 
was not at home. From there they went to Lancaster 
village, and then returned to Colonel Tarleton's head- 
quarters, where Charles Mackey was tried by court- 
martial, and sentenced to death as a spy. 


The next day Mrs. Mackey, not knowing what had 
happened, gathered some fruits and eggs, and with a 
basket well filled she made her way to Colonel Tarle- 
ton's camp. Hucksters were readily admitted when 
they had such luxuries to dispose of. On getting within 
the lines, she inquired the way to Colonel Tarleton's 
marquee, which was shown to her. The colonel was 
on parade, but a young officer, who was writing, asked 
her to be seated. After he had finished he said : 

" You have something for sale, I presume ? " 

She replied that she had fruit and eggs. He gladly 
took what she had and paid for them. She then said 
that her basket of fruit was only a pretext to get to 
Colonel Tarleton's headquarters. That she was anxious 
to pee him in person, on business of great importance. 
She then explained to him the capture of her husband 
and that she wished to get him released, if he were 
still alive, though she didn't know but what they had 
hung him to the first tree they came to. 

The officer told her that the colonel was on parade 
and would not return for two hours, or until he came 
in for his mid-day meal. Mrs. Mackey was a comely 
woman, of superior intelligence, and she soon inter- 
ested the young officer in her sad condition. He ex- 
pressed for her the deepest sympathy, and told her 
that her husband was near by, under guard ; that he 
had been tried and sentenced to death as a spy ; and 
that he feared there was no hope of a reprieve, as 
the evidence against him, by Tories, was of the most 

.!•;> THE ST03Y J MY LIFE. 

positive kind. He told her that Colonel Tarleton 
was as emel and unfeeling as he was brave, and that 
he would promise her anything to get rid of her, bnt 
would fulfill nothing. " However," said he, a I will pre- 
pare the necessary document for your husband's release, 
tiling in the blanks, so that it will only be necessary 
to get Colonel 1 relet en's signature. But I must again 
Bay, frankly, that this is almost hopeless.'' 

It was evident to the most superficial observer 
that Mrs. Mac-key would soon become a mother, and 
this, probably, had something to do with enlisting the 
sympathy of the kind young officer. At 12 o'c 
Colonel Tirleton rode up. dismounted, and entered the 
adjoining tent. As he passed along, the young offi- 
cer said : " You must wait till he dines. Another 
charger will then be brought, and when he comes up to 
mount you can approach him, and not till then." 

At the expected time, the tall, boyish-looking, clean- 
shaved, handsome young Tarleton came out of his tent ; 
and as he neared his charger he was confronted by 
the heroic Lvdia Mackev. who in a few words made 
known the object of her visit. He quickly answered 
that he was in a great hurry, and could not at that time 
stop to consider her cause. She said the cause was 
urgent ; that her husband had been condemned to death 
and that he alone had the power U ; we his life. He 
replied : 

" Verv welh mv good woman : when I return, latex 
in the day, I will inquire into the matter." 


Saying this, he placed his foot in the stirrup and 
sprang up ; but, before he could throw his right leg 
over the saddle, Mrs. Mackey caught him by the 
coat and jerked him down. He turned upon her with 
a scowl, as she implored him to grant her request. 
He was greatly discomfited and angrily said he would 
inquire into the case on his return. He then attempted 
again to mount, when she dragged him down the sec- 
ond time, begging him in eloquent terms to spare the 
life of her husband. 

" Hut, tut, my good woman," said he, boiling with 
rage, "do you know what you are doing? Begone, I 
say, I will attend to this matter at my convenience and 
not sooner ! " 

So saying, he attempted the third time to mount, and 
the third time Lydia Mackey jerked him to the ground. 
Holding by the sword's scabbard, and falling on her 
knees, she cried : 

" Draw your sword and slay me and my unborn babe, 
or give me the life of my husband, for I will never let 
you go till you kill me or sign this document," which 
she drew from her bosom and held up before his face. 

Tarleton trembled with rage, and was as pale as a 
ghost. He turned to the young officer, who stood close 
by intently watching the scene, and said: 

" Captain, where is this woman's husband ? " 

He answered, " Under guard, in yonder tent." 

" Order him to be brought here," and soon Charles 
Mackey stood before the valiant Tarleton. " Sir," said 


he, "you have been convicted of bearing arms against 
his majesty's government. Worse, you have been con- 
victed of being a spy. You have dared to enter my 
lines in disguise, as a spy, and you can not deny it. But, 
for the sake of your wife, I will give you a full pardon 
on condition that you will take an oath never again to 
bear arms against the king's government." 

" Sir," 6aid Charles Mackey, in the firmest tones, 
" I can not accept pardon on these terms. It must be 
unconditional, or I must die." And poor Lydia Mackey 
cried out, "I, too, must die" — and on her knees held 
on to Colonel Tarleton ; and she pleaded with such fervor 
and eloquence that Tarleton seemed lost for a moment, 
and hesitated, and then, turning to the young captain, 
he said, with quivering lips and a voice choking with 
emotion : 

" Captain, for God's sake sign my name to this paper, 
and let this woman go." 

"With this, Lydia Mackey sank to the ground ex- 
hausted, and Colonel Tarleton mounted his horse and 
galloped off, doubtless happier for having spared the 
life of heroic Lydia Mackey's husband. 

Lydia Mackey in her old age was a fine talker, and 
when I was a boy of ten years old I have heard her tell 
this story with such feeling and earnestness that great 
tears rolled down her aged cheeks and mingled with 
those of her little grandchildren, huddled around her 

The name of Tarleton was execrated in South Caro- 


lina until a very late period. Even fifty years after his 
bloody exploits children would tremble at their re- 
hearsal. But the Lydia Mackey episode shows that he 
was not wholly devoid of sentiment, and that he had a 
heart that was not wholly steeled against the nobler 
feelings of humanity. 

The history of our Revolutionary "War can hardly 
present a more interesting tableau than that of Lydia 
Mackey begging the life of her husband at the hands of 
the brave and bloody Tarleton. It is altogether proba- 
ble that the Lydia Mackey victory was the first ever 
gained over the heart of this redoubtable commander; 
and it is very certain that Charles Mackey was the only 
condemned prisoner ever liberated by him without tak- 
ing the oath of allegiance to the mother country. This 
was about four months before the surrender of Lord 
Cornwallis at Yorktown. 


My early school experience and first love — My parents remove to Lancas- 
ter — Founding of Franklin Academy — My first lie — The story of the 
crooked pin. 

My father, feeling the want of an education himself, 
was determined to educate his children, and so he began 
with me at a very early age. He then had a little store 
about a mile north of the Hanging-Rock Creek, on the 
road leading to Lancaster. This was in 1818. Mr. 
Blackburn, a Scotchman, had just opened a school in an 
old field, very near the ford of the creek. Mr. Buck 
Caston lived a mile north of us, and his children were 
obliged to pass our door to get to Mr. Blackburn's 
school. His eldest daughter, Betsey, knowing that my 
father was anxious to have me go to school, volunteered 
to call on going by every day and take me to school 
with them ; promising to protect me against all dangers 
and imposition from other boys in the school. I don't 
remember much about it, except that the teacher flogged 
the boys occasionally, very severely, and stood some of 
them up in the corner with a fool's cap on. I here 
learned my letters, and to spell in two syllables by the 


end of the term. The school was only for the summer 

The next year, 1819, when I was six years old, my 
father sent me to a boarding-school, some six or eight 
miles from home. The teacher here was an Irishman, 
Mr. Quigley, a man about fifty-five years old, and a 
rigid disciplinarian ; altogether very tyrannical, and 
sometimes cruel. He was badly pock-marked, and 
had lost an eye by small-pox — otherwise a handsome 
man. 1 was very unhappy at his house, lie had two 
grown daughters ; one of the daughters was very unkind 
to me, the other was sympathetic. But my impressions 
then and my convictions now are that the best place for 
a child under ten years of age is with his mother. A 
very curious custom prevailed in this school, which was 
that the boy who arrived earliest in the morning was 
at the head of his class during the day, and was consid- 
ered the first-honor boy. The one who arrived second 
took the second place, and so on. There was great 
rivalry among some half-dozen of the most ambitious of 
the boys. James Graham was about ten years old. He 
was almost always first in the morning. Although 1 was 
so very young, only six, I occasionally made efforts to 
get there earlier than he did. I suppose the school- 
house was not more than three quarters of a mile from 
the teacher's residence, where I boarded ; but it seemed 
to me, at the time, that it was very much farther than 
that. However, the boy that got ahead of James 
Graham had to rise very early in the morning. I re- 


member getting up one morning long before daybreak. 
The dread of my young life was mad dogs and " runa- 
way niggers." I started off "for the school-house on a 
trot, an hour before day, looking anxiously from side to 
side, and before and behind, fearing all the time those 
two great bugbears of my young life, viz., mad dogs 
and runaway niggers, with which the minds of the 
young were so often demoralized by negro stories. 
When I arrived at the school-house the wind was blow- 
ing very severely. It was in the autumn ; the acorns 
were falling on the clap-boards covering the log-cabin, 
and I didn't feel very comfortable, and was most anx- 
ious for James Graham to come. At last he arrived, 
greatly to my relief. This was my first and last first- 
honor day. I was content after this to resign this post 
to James Graham. 

This teacher had one remarkable peculiarity in regard 
to the admission of small boys to his school. It made no 
odds whether a boy was good or bad, he invariably got a 
flogging on the first day. The teacher always sought 
some pretext to make a flogging necessary, and when he 
began he seldom stopped until the youngster vomited 
or wet his breeches. I remember, as if it were yester- 
day, when a little boy, James Smith, about seven years 
old, came with his two older brothers to school. 

He did not come as a pupil. His mother wished to 
go to a camp-meeting for a day or two, and sent him with 
his brothers to school, because she did not wish to leave 
him at home alone with the negroes. He was a pretty 


little blue-eyed, flaxen-haired boy, and wore a red Mo- 
rocco-leather Bumbalo cap, and red Morocco shoes, a 
checked jacket, and nankeen pants, fitting tight round 
the ankles and tied with red ribbons. And his shoulders 
were covered with a broad white linen collar, neatly 
ruffled. He was as pretty as a picture, the envy of all 
tne little boys, and admiration of all the little girls in 
the school. Old Quigley had that one eye on him all 
morning. I wondered if James would be initiated in 
the usual way, with all that finery on. If so, I felt 
sorry for his vanity and his Sunday clothes. It was 
about eleven o'clock. James had been on his good be- 
havior all morning. The teacher would soon go out for 
his usual morning leg-stretching ; when, unfortunately for 
James, he started to run across the school-room. This 
was against the rules. In running, he tripped and fell 
sprawling in the middle of the floor. Old Quigley lit 
on him with a keen, new hickory-switch, and began to 
initiate him in his usual way into the mysteries of peda- 
gogism. The little fellow yelled and kicked, and 
screamed that he would tell his pa. This was of no use. 
Old Cockeye whipped the harder. He was not afraid 
of any boy's pa. I felt so sorry for the dear little boy. 
I had passed along that road. I knew too well what 
had to come, and I thought to myself : " Poor little fel- 
low. If you only knew what I do, you would throw 
up that breakfast, even to the milk and peaches, or 
you would spoil them breeches." At last my mind 
was relieved when I saw the nankeens change color. 


Thereupon old Quigley immediately stopped whip- 

He made it a rule to whip, when he once began, till 
the remedy worked either up or down, when he imme- 
diately arrested his whipping. This was at a time 
when it was the custom for the boys to turn out the 
master a day or two before the term of school ended. 
Schools were seldom taken up for a longer period than 
from three to six months. The first quarter of Mr. 
Quigley's school was about to terminate, and the big 
boys agreed to turn him out and make him treat before 
the beginning of the second quarter. It was the teach- 
er's habit, every day, to take a walk of fifteen or twenty 
minutes, about eleven o'clock in the morning, calling 
to his desk some of the larger boys to keep order during 
his absence. Iso sooner had he descended the foot of 
the hill leading toward the spring than the three 
larger boys in the school began barricading the door. 
There was only one door to the cabin, and by taking up 
the benches, which were ten or fifteen feet long, and 
crossing them diagonally, one to the right and another 
to the left, in the door, the benches projecting as much 
outside as inside the house, a complete barricade was 
formed which could easily be defended against assault 
from without. "When the old gentleman saw what had 
been done he became perfectly furious. He was so 
violent that he easily intimidated the ringleaders. He 
swore that he would not give up, and would not treat, and 
that he was coming into the house whether or no. At 


last be commenced to climb on tbe roof of the bouse, 
and to throw a part of it off. It was covered with 
boards held on by poles. The ringleaders, seeing that 
be was sure to effect an entrance anyway, became in- 
timidated, and agreed to remove tbe barricade if be 
would promise not to whip them. After parleying a 
little while, be promised that he would not flog the ring- 
leaders. He was a man of most violent temper, and, 
although fifty-five years of age, he was very strong and 
active. The ringleader of tbe gang was young Bob 
Stafford. He was tall, slender, and very strong; but 
was evidently afraid of the teacher, and showed the 
white featber decidedly. As Mr. Quigley came in he 
walked up to young Stafford, who stood trembling in 
the middle of the room, and said : " Sir," as he drew his 
big fist back, " I have a great mind to run my fist right 
through your body ! " I bad always thought Mr. Quig- 
ley would do whatever be said be would do, and I re- 
membered with what horror I looked at Stafford, ex- 
pecting every minute to see tbe old gentleman's fist 
come out through his back. 

My father came to see me but once during the six 
months I was in this school. My mother came to see 
me about once a month. I was dying to tell her of 
the bad treatment I received from the teacher and 
from one of bis daughters. The old gentleman was 
very obstinate, and not only punished me unnecessa- 
rily at school, but he would not let me have what I 
wanted to eat, and would compel me to eat things ab- 


Bolutely distasteful to me. I wished to tell my mother 
of all this; of how Miss Nelly used to box my ears 
and pull my hair, and how old Quigley used to punish 
me, but I was too closely watched. I could never get 
her to one side, never see her alone. At last I became 
desperate. And right in the presence of the whole 
family I told the whole truth of the severe treatment 
that I had endured ever since I had been there, and 
that she must take me home; if she didn't, I would 
run away and leave the place even if I were captured 
by runaway niggers and devoured by mad dogs. I 
would have run away long before, but for the dread 
of mad dogs and " runaway niggers." 
y As soon as my mother went home, and told my 
father what had occurred, he sent and removed me 
to my own home again, where I was as happy as the 
day was long. I must say, however, that, in spite of 
all the disagreeable things of this school, they man- 
aged to make the boys learn very cleverly. I used 
to lie awake nights, and think about what I could do 
to get home. And then it was that the idea of an 
elevated road came into my mind strongly. My idea 
was that all little boys placed at boarding-schools should 
have a trough reaching from the school to their homes, 
elevated on posts and girders, ten feet above ground, 
so that they could climb up and get into this trough 
and run home without the fear of either mad dogs 
or runaway niggers. 

The next school that I attended was taught by 


Mr. John E. Sanderson, an Irishman. I was now seven 
years old. He taught school alternately in the Wax- 
haws and Hanging-Rock neighborhoods. The Waxhaws 
were in the northern part of the county, and the Hang- 
ing-Rock neighborhood in the southern. He was a 
fine teacher for arithmetic and writing. But he was 
very cruel, and whipped the boys often without any 
provocation at all. He thrashed them even when they 
were nearly grown, although he was a small man. But 
he was A 60 violent in his temper and in the govern- 
ment of his school that the larger boys were afraid 
of him. There was only one day in the week when 
the school was happy, and that was Monday. He 
always got drunk on Saturday night, remained so all day 
Sunday, and came to school Monday morning as full 
as he could be, and then was always jolly and good- 
tempered. He would then pinch the girls' arms, and 
say witty things to the boys, and he never whipped 
anybody on Monday, so we were always happy on 
that day. But when Tuesday arrived he reverted to 
his old ways of severity. We had one poor fellow 
named Ike Tillman in the school. He was an orphan, 
and was for many years under the tuition of Mr. San- 
derson, and wherever he located a school, whether in 
one part of the county or the other, Ike Tillman al- 
ways followed him. He was a bad boy without be- 
ing very bad. He was very indolent, but not stupid. 
Mr. Sanderson had begun to whip him when he was 
seven or eight years old, and the boy had got so U6ed 


to it that he expected to he flogged every day, even 
when he was eighteen years old and nearly six feet 
high. And he was seldom disappointed. At last one 
or two of the boys, abont his own age, said to him, 
one day, " Ike, you're too big to be flogged ; if I were 
you, I would show fight next time." 

"Well," he said, " boys if you'll stand by me I 
will do it; but if you don't I can't afford it." 

They agreed to stand by him. Ike had a slate 
about twelve by ten inches, and the wooden frame 
had been broken and lost. The next day Mr. San- 
derson called up Ike for a thrashing. Ike came up, 
with his slate in his hand, leaning it against his bosom, 
and he said : 

"Mr. Sanderson, you have been whipping me, sir, 
ever since I was a little boy. I am now a man. I 
will be d — d if I'll stand it any longer ! If you come 
a step nearer to me, I will split your d — d old head 
open with this slate ! " 

Mr. Sanderson was surprised, and he changed his 
tactics immediately, and said : 

" Why, Ikey, why, you would not strike me with 
that slate, would you ? " 

Ike said : " You come one step toward me and I'll 
split you open, clean down from your head to your 
backbone, and," said he, " these boys have promised to 
see me through the fight ! " 

" "Well, Ikey," said Mr. Sanderson, " we have lived 
together a long time, but I don't think we can afford 


to be enemies ; and, if you are willing, we'll let by- 
gones be by-gones, and we'll enter from this day on 
into a new relationship." The old man saw that the 
game was up and too strong for him ; and, sure enough, 
60 far as Ike Tillman and the larger bo ys were con- 
cerned, the old man was taught a lesson that he never 
forgot afterward. But he was so cruel to me and my 
little brother, and other little children, that I swore in 
my heart that, if I ever got to be a man, I would 
thrash him, if he were as old as Methuselah. I re- 
member one Saturday meeting him on the road, near 
my father's house. My little brother and I were rid- 
ing double on a little pony. He was riding in the 
opposite direction, meeting us. He was very drunk; 
and, as soon as he got near enough to us, he com- 
menced striking at us with his stick, and really hurt 
my brother very much. "We got away as fast as we 
could, and galloped home to tell my father what had 
happened. But Sanderson was the only teacher in 
the county, and if a boy didn't go to school to him 
there was no school for him to go to, and parents had 
to put up with his cruelties to their children, because 
they could not help themselves. They were afraid to 
speak to him about his treatment for fear he would 
dismiss their children from school. 

During the time I went to school to Mr. Sander- 
son, about two years off and on, Arthur Ingram, a boy 
about fourteen years old, always came by my father's 
house, to accompany my brother and myself to the 


school. I was seven ; my brother five. We had then 
moved to the south side of the Hanging-Rock Creek, 
and in going to the school we were obliged to cross this 
creek. We crossed it on a log, and walking through 
the 6wamp after a rain our feet became slippery. Or- 
dinarily, the creek was very shallow where we crossed, 
not more than twelve or eighteen inches deep ; but after 
a rain it would rise to four feet or even five. We were 
going to school one morning after a severe rain of the 
night before. Arthur Ingram led the way on the 
round, smooth log, and went safely over, leading my 
brother by the hand, and I followed, holding the other 
hand of my little brother. Just as Arthur had landed 
on the opposite side of the creek, my brother slipped and 
fell into the water and I jumped in after him. We 
were like Siamese twins ; whatever one did, the other 
was bound to do ; we were bound up in each other 
completely. We clasped each other in the water, and, if 
it had not been for young Ingram, we would both have 
been drowned. The water was about four feet deep. 
He stepped in and caught us by the hair of the head, and 
drew us to the bank, and saved our lives. He was a 
somnambulist, and often remained over night at my 
father's house. It was very curious to see him rise 
from bed fast asleep and wander about in a listless way, 
not knowing where he was going, or what he wanted 
to do. My mother would easily coax him back to bed, 
and he would remember nothing of it the next morn- 


My father's partner in business was Mr. Patterson, 
one of the nicest and best men I ever knew ; and he 
gave me a little lesson once that has lasted me all 
through life. I was about eight years old. There was 
a great deal of Jamestown weed growing in the cor- 
ners of the fences {Datura stramonium). He was never 
very communicative or disposed to talk much to 
children. He admired them at a distance, and left 
them quietly alone. However, I was surprised one day 
when he called me to him, and said : " Do you see this 
beautiful, bad-smelling weed in the corner of the fence ? 
Some people call it Jimson weed, and some people call 
it Jamestown weed. Now, will you have the kindness 
to tell me the proper name for that weed ? You have 
been to school long enough to know." 

My bosom swelled with vanity, when the sober, 
quiet, dignified Mr. Reuben Patterson came to me for 
information, and I thought I was certain that he did 
not know, or he would not have asked me the ques- 
tion. I certainly must not appear to be ignorant, so I 
drew myself up, feeling my importance and thinking 
I would decide the question very suddenly, and I said, 
"Mr. Patterson, the proper name of that weed is the 
Jimson weed, sir." 

Mr. Patterson replied: "Young man, the proper 
name of that weed is the Jamestown weed, and Jimson 
is only a corruption of Jamestown. I would advise 
you, hereafter — and lay it up in your memory — as long 
as you live, never to presume to express an opinion on 


any subject unless you are thoroughly informed on that 

I was never so humiliated in all the days of my life. 
And I am sure that I have thought of Mr. Patterson 
and the Jamestown weed a thousand times since then, 
when I have been called upon to give an opinion and 
didn't feel competent to do it. I have often profited 
by the advice he then gave me. 

Mr. Sanderson must have educated at least two hun- 
dred boys in Lancaster district, and it was said that he 
had thrashed every young man who had ever gone to 
school to him except one, George Witherspoon. But 
George was such a good boy that it was impossible 
for the teacher to find any pretext to flog him. Mr. 
Sanderson was certainly an admirable teacher, as far as 
he pretended to teach, and turned out many young 
men who were very successful in life afterward. 

In 1822, when I was nine years old, I went to school 
to Mr. William Williams, and he was the first native 
American teacher that we had had among us. He was 
a very good teacher, and a veiy good man, and I used 
to stand at the head of my class in spelling. Unfor- 
tunately, on one occasion some gentleman returning 
from Camden brought me a jew's-harp. I had never 
seen one before, but I was perfectly carried away with 
this senseless little toy. I took it to school with me, 
and, instead of getting my spelling lessons during the 
recess, I was off with other little boys displaying the 
musical powers of my jew's-harp. Time whiled away, 


books were called, and the boys all hastened to school, 
and I had forgotten to look over my spelling lesson. 
About the second round of words that was given out 
I failed to spell correctly and had to go down. I was 
very much confused, and failed to spell any word that 
was given me, and the first thing I knew I was at the 
bottom of my class instead of standing at the top ; and 
there were about eight little boys in the class. I did 
not know that Mr. Williams was aware of the fact 
that I had a jew's-harp, but when the lesson was ended, 
and I was standing at the wrong end of the class, he 
said: "Marion, you appear here to-day in a new char- 
acter; I presume you intend to become a musician." 

I was exceedingly mortified when he said that ; 
and he wound up by saying, " Will you have the kind- 
ness to spell jew's-harp for us." I felt very much 
ashamed of my disgrace, and really did not know how 
to spell it, but I went it on a venture and spelled it 
,c juice-harp." He turned to another boy and asked him 
if he could spell the word, which he did correctly, to 
my complete discomfiture. That was my first and last 
experience with learning music, even with a je vvVharp. 
I never played it afterward. 

When I was a boy I always had a sweetheart. 
The first one was Miss Caston. It was very natural, 
when I was only five and she was seventeen, and she 
was so kind to me, that I ought to be desperately in 
love with her. But when I was nine years old she no 
longer went to school, but she had a little sister who 


went to school to Mr. Williams— Sallie Caston. I 
somehow had transferred my affections from the big 
sister to the little one. But the little sister was very 
unsympathetic, and was altogether a very stupid girl ; 
but it took me some time to find it out. When the 
school was called at two o'clock it was the habit of 
the students to run down to the spring-branch and 
wash their faces and hands. I noticed that Sallie was 
always among the last, and I concluded that I would 
be amoug the last, to get up a little flirtation with her ; 
and being totally ignorant how that could be done, 
when I was washing near the spring-branch just below 
her, I said, " Sallie, I am going to throw water on you." 
She said, " If you do I'll tell master on you." I said, 
" Oh no, you would not be so mean as to tell the mas- 
ter. If you do that it will be meau." So I took up a 
little water and sprinkled it on her face, and she com- 
menced crying as though her heart would break. She 
started for the school-house, screaming as loud as she 
possibly could, crying, " Oh, Oh dear ! " I walked along 
behind her, saying, " Sallie, you wouldn't tell the teach- 
er, would you ? " But she cried all the whole way up 
the hill, one hundred yards. It was a short one for me. 
When I got to the school-house, Sallie was 'crying so 
loudly that Mr. Williams came out to see what was the 
matter. As she came within ten or fifteen feet of the 
door Sallie cried out, " Marion Sims, he thro wed water 
all over me down by the spring, boo-hoo ! " The 
master said, "Well, Marion, did you throw water on 


Sallies" I could not say that I didn't, and I had no 
explanation. My heart was broken for Sallie, and I 
stammered out, " Yes, sir, I did." As long as I had ac- 
knowledged it, there was nothing more to say, and Mr. 
Williams knocked the love for Sallie out of me in 
about three minutes, and I never was in love with her 
again after that. She was a poor little forlorn creature. 

Mr. Williams and I were great friends after that. 
He was my father's deputy-sheriff. He was an admir- 
able teacher, and did the best possible for the advance- 
ment of his pupils, and succeeded with all of them who 
were willing to work. In 1824 my father removed 
from Hanging-Rock Creek to Lancaster village. I 
think he went on account of Mr. Williams's school. My 
brother and myself were left at the old place, in charge 
of a manager and the negroes. Here we were very 
much neglected ; and white children living among ne- 
groes, if they were not looked after carefully by the 
mother, were sure to become lousy. The servants who 
had charge of us had neglected us entirely, and I shall 
never forget the mortification that my mother experi- 
enced when my brother and myself went to Lancaster 
to see her, when she found our heads and clothing 
infested with these little creatures. They belong always 
to the black race. 

A great hit has been made by Mr. Harris, of Atlanta, 
Georgia, in regard to the folk-lore of the Africans, in 
conversations with " Uncle Remus." He gives the 
story of "Brer Rabbit," "Brer Fox," and other quad- 


roped animals. "\Then I was seven or eight years old 
a negro by the name of Cudjo used to come every 
Saturday night to my father's house and tell these 
African negro stories, about the rabbit and the wolf, 
etc. He was about four feet high, remarkably well 
built, and his face was beautiful, but horribly tattooed, 
just as it appears to us, symmetrically done. He said 
he was captured and brought to this country when he 
was a boy. He was a prince in his own country, and 
would have risen to become a king or ruler of the nation 
or tribe, if he had remained at home there. It has 
been questioned by some, whence came these stories 
of negro folk-lore. From what I remember of this 
negro, Cudjo, I am satisfied that he brought his stories 
from Africa, and that a few negroes like himself laid 
the foundation among the negroes native to this coun- 
try of the lore that has lately attracted such attention. 
This man told wonderful stories — ghost -stories — and 
would eat fire, and knock himself with a stick on the 
head, when he was telling them. I remember how 
anxiously I looked for him every Saturday nigh: I 
tell stories that were really poisoning my mind, and 
infusing into it and my nature a sense of fear which 
should not have been cultivated in children. ^Y~e regu- 
larly saved np our little sixpences and gave him all 
our money for his evening's entertainment ; and it was 
for the money he got out of us little boys in the neigh- 
borhood that he went from house to house, giving his 
Brother Eabbit lectures to little boys. 


In 1825 my brother and myself followed our par- 
ents to Lancaster, and the days of Johnnie Sanderson 
as a teacher were about to be numbered. Dr. Jones, 
Mr. Benjamin Massey, Mr. Sikes Massey, Colonel With- 
erspoon and my father, all had boys to educate, and they 
were determined to establish a high-school in Lancaster. 
They raised a fund for that purpose, organized a board 
of trustees, built a very nice two-story brick house, 
thirty-five by twenty feet, and advertised for teachers. 
Mr. Henry Connelly, of Washington University, in 
Pennsylvania, was chosen to inaugurate the new edu- 
cational movement in Franklin Academy, in Lancaster 
village. He arrived early in December, 1825. There 
were no railroads, of course, in that day and time, no 
stage lines from Washington, Pennsylvania, to an ob- 
scure country place like Lancaster. The mail was car- 
ried across the country on horseback. So Mr. Connelly 
and the young man who accompanied him as his assist- 
ant teacher purchased a horse and buggy in Pennsyl- 
vania, drove down through Maryland, Yirginia, and 
North Carolina, to Lancaster, and there sold the horse 
and buggy, and entered upon the duties of their vocation. 

The academy was opened on the fifth day of Decem- 
ber, 1825, and the sons of all the "swells" in the vil- 
lage and neighborhood were to study Latin, as well as 
the several branches of useful English education. I 
told my father that I thought he was too poor to give 
me a classical education ; that he had eight children ; 
that the other gentlemen whose sons were studying 


Latin were all rich men, and that he had better have 
me prepared for the counting-house and let me help 
him support his large family. He said, no ; that his 
own education was so entirely wantiDg, he knew how 
important it was for every man to get along in the 
world, and he was determined to give his ~ children a 
good education, if he did nothing more for them, and 
that was better than money. So, with the other boys, 
I went on with my classical studies. The school pros- 
pered under Mr. Connelly's administration. He soon 
established a reputation as a disciplinarian, and as an 
efficient and successful teacher, and boys were sent from 
all the counties round. He remained in Lancaster two 
years, and educated many young men who in after-life 
rose to distinction. He was a preacher, and belonged 
to the sect of the Seceders. 

The school was for both boys and girls — the lower 
floor for girls and very little children, and the upper 
floor for the others. There were about seventy-five in 
all, boys predominating, some of them over twenty- 
five years old, down to some not more than ten or 
twelve. He was certainly a very able teacher, and in 
two years he left in his school a set of boys who were 
as advanced as possible for them to advance in that 
length of time. Like all schools, there were some good 
and some bad boys. Xone very bad except one — Will- 
iam Foster. He was a notoriously bad boy from 
every point of view. He exerted a demoralizing in- 
fluence on the younger boys of the school. 


It was said that Washington never told a lie. I 
am very sure I am not Washington, for I told one lie 
in my life, and it was a " whopper " ; but I told it 
very mildly. I always felt sorry that I had to lie, but 
I can not say I have regretted so much that I did. 
It happened in this way : 

At twelve o'clock was always dismission for play- 
hours. There was the best of remarkably good boys, 
Ward Crockett. He always took his seat in the mas- 
ter's chair and sat there studying his lessons while 
the rest of us were out at play, and he was never 
known to miss any question put to him. One day 
Frank Massey came to me and said, " Look here, Mar- 
ion, I want to break up this Ward Crockett business — 
sitting in master's chair. Now I tell you what you 
do. You see this pin % " It was nearly two inches 
long, as large as a knitting-needle, with a big head 
and sharp point. Said he, "You take this pin, and 
I will go and get Ward Crockett and take him to 
the well. While we are gone you will have half an 
hour, and you fix that pin in the center of the mas- 
ter's chair. When he comes back and sits down I 
don't think he will get much of a lesson afterward. " 
I very foolishly agreed to do what he had told me. 
Presently, Frank Massey and Ward Crockett were seen 
walking toward the well. I immediately entered the 
academy ; there wasn't a soul in it ; everybody was 
out at play. I very ingeniously arranged the pin in 
the center of the master's chair-seat, with the point 


sticking directly upward, and fixed it so that it was 
difficult to turn it to either side. Ward Crockett be- 
came amused at a game of ball out in the yard with 
us, and didn't go into the house that day at all to get 
his lessons. At two o'clock the school was called, and 
the class of large boys was the first to recite. The 
master was walking up and down, in front of the class 
with book in hand saying, "Next;" "right;" "next;" 
"right," and so on. The answers were all given very 
correctly and the recitation was progressing finely. It 
was about half through, and after a while the teacher 
got tired of walking and went to sit down. He went 
down into the chair, but he flew up like a rocket ; his 
head almost touched the joists above him. He came 
down like a stick. [Never was a whole school so sur- 
prised as at Mr. Connelly's gymnastic feat. Nobody 
knew who put that pin in the chair but Frank Mas- 
sey and myself. But he was certain that one of three 
young men in the class had done it. He thought it 
might possibly be Frank Witherspoon, but was very sure 
that it was either Stark Perry or William Foster, and he 
thought he would fasten it on the guilty party. So he 
began at the head of the class, and said, " Eush Jones, 
did you put that pin in the chair? " He said, "No, sir." 
I said, " My God, if he asks everybody the question 
separately about that pin, what is to become of me % If 
he goes on in that way he will certainly ask me, and 
if he finds out that I put that pin in there he will 
surely murder me." 


"Ward Crockett, did you put that pin in the 
chair ? " He answered, " No, sir." 

Suffice it to say that he went on, calling each one 
by name. Presently he came to Tromp Witherspoon. 
" Witherspoon, did you put that pin in the chair?" 
He said, " No, sir." The thing was getting close to me. 
I said, " Good heavens ! Look how pale he is ! I 
think I must tell the truth, and how am I to do it ? " 

However, before he got to me, he came to William 
Foster. He thought he had his man. He hesitated, and 
looked at him, and tried to browbeat him. He said, 
" William Foster, did you put that pin in my chair ? " 
He said, " No, sir, I didn't ; neither do I know who 
did." The teacher looked despondent after that. An- 
other was asked, and another, and presently he came 
to the youth beside me, James Adams. 

" James Adams," he said, " did you put that pin 
in my chair ? " The teacher well knew that he didn't. 
I was shivering and felt very cold. He addressed 
me very mildly : " Marion, did you put that pin in the 
chair ? " 

I said, " No, sir," timidly. I thought I would say 
yes at the last moment, but Mr. Connelly's pale face, 
compressed lips and clenched hand overawed the truth, 
and it could not come forth. 
I / Still he went on. Presently he came to Perry. He 
stopped still, and looked at him fiercely, with a sort of 
sardonic smile. He thought he had his man at last. He 
had started out with the expectation of fixing it on 


Perry or Foster. Perry was his last hope for revenge. 
He said, "Stark Perry." "Sir?" "Did you put that 
pin in my chair ? " " jSo, sir, I did not ; and more- 
over I don't know who did put it there, either." 

That pin was always a mystery. ]^o one in the 
school ever suspected either Frank Massey or me. The 
little lie I told worried me for some time afterward. 

Twenty-eight years after this, when I was living in 
Xew York and working to establish the Woman's Hos- 
pital, I heard of a preacher by the name of Connelly, 
who was living in Kewburg. I wrote to him, asking 
him if he was the Henry Connelly who had charge of 
the Franklin Academy, in Lancaster, South Carolina, 
in 1825-27. He answered me very kindly ; said he 
was the same man and that he was coming to see me on 
a certain dav. When he arrived I was not at home, 
and my wife was out. He had never kept the run of 
any of his old students, and he did not know what 
had become of any of them, and he was very glad to hear 
from me. When he arrived, as I said, I was out and 
so was my wife, and the children came in to see him, 
knowing that he was to come, and, as they went up 
to shake hands with him, he said : " How much this 
little girl looks like a little girl I had in my school, 
twenty-five or twenty-six years ago. Her name was 
Theresa Jones." The little girl said : " Why that was 
my mamma's name." He replied, " That is very odd, 
but you look exactly as your mamma did then." 

My house was always after this a stopping-place for 


him. He always bad a room there, and frequently came 
to see us, and sometimes he staid a day and a night ; but 
he frequently dined with us, or took luncheon with us, 
when he came to town, and we were ever happy to see 
him. One evening, while we were sitting at dinner, my 
two youngest little children got to laughing, and I said, 
" What are you laughing at ? " One of them said, " Oh, 
nothing ; but isn't that the man whose chair you put the 
pin in when you went to school to him ? " I didn't 
know but what he understood the children, and I said to 
him, "Mr. Connelly, I have something to say to you 
which has been on my conscience for more than a quar- 
ter of a century." I then told him all about the story 
of the pin. He took it in very great earnestness and 
bad humor, and could not enjoy it. He was mortified 
to death. Of all the seventy-five boys in his school, he 
6aid, I was the last one he would have suspected of do- 
ing such a thing. Mr. Connelly could not forgive it, 
and he never came to my house after that day. 

I said William Foster was a bad boy, and that re- 
minds me of an incident that occurred just before Mr. 
Connelly closed his term of school. Foster had given 
him the nick-name of " Little Teer." There was no 
sense in the name, but he was very sensitive about 
it, and didn't like it at all. One day, during intermis- 
sion, somebody had drawn a face on the blackboard, and 
written under it, " Little Teer." As usual, the class of 
big boys were first for recitation. Connelly was walking 
up and down before the class, as was his custom, between 


them and the blackboard. After a while he discovered 
the face on the blackboard and the " Little Teer " writ- 
ten under it, and he immediately turned around and 
said, " William Foster, did you draw that ? Did you 
write those words ! " He said, " Yes, sir, I did ; have 
you any objection to it ? I have been wanting a clip at 
you for some time." With that they locked. Foster 
was a very tall man ; Connelly was short. Connelly was 
matured, and strong, and was too much for Foster, and 
he threw him out of doors and bruised him considerably. 
The next day the trustees of the academy called a meet- 
ing and expelled Foster from the school. He ought to 
have been expelled long before. 

Foster became very dissipated and died two or three 
years afterward. 

Stark Perry was governor of Florida when our great 
civil war broke out. He was very much of a man, and 
in many respects a very fine fellow. 

Mr. Connelly, before leaving Lancaster, kindly under- 
took to engage some young graduate to come on from 
Washington, Pennsylvania, to take his place, and he was 
fortunate in the selection of Mr. John Harris, who en- 
tered on his duties at Franklin Academy the first of De- 
cember, 1827. Of course there were no railroads in 
those days, and no stage lines from Washington, Penn- 
sylvania, to Lancaster, South Carolina, so Harris pur- 
chased a horse and buggy in Washington, Pennsylvania, 
and a young man named Mittag came with him. Then 
Mr. Connelly took the same horse and buggy and drove 


it back to Pennsylvania. Mr. Harris was a very good 
teacher, but altogether a different style of a man from 
Connelly. He admired fine horses, liked a game of 
whist, and " put on airs " considerably. Still, he was 
very much liked and was a very efficient teacher. He 
remained two years, and left in 1829. 


I start to college and get homesick — My first experience with wine not 

a success. 

The Franklin Academy then passed into the hands 
of Mr. Niles, of Camden. He was no disciplinarian, and 
not much of a scholar. Still he prepared boys for col- 
lege, and in 1830 we all started for Columbia, S. C, about 
the first of October. There were six of us, all wanting 
to enter the sophomore rising junior, or junior, except 
two, who went into the sophomore class. I was ad- 
mitted to sophomore rising junior. I said previously 
that in 1825 I did not wish to study the classics ; I didn't 
wish to go to college. In 1830, I still would greatly 
have preferred to remain at home and take a clerkship 
in Mr. Stringfellow's store. Not because I objected to 
college life so much, but I felt that my father was not 
able to give me a university education. The other 
young men who were going with me to Columbia were 
the sons of rich men, planters; and their fathers were 
able to send them to college. However, college life was 
a new existence to me. When I went there I was one 
of the best boys in the world. I do not know that I had 


a single bad habit. I didn't swear ; I didn't drink ; I 
didn't gamble; indeed, I had no vices that could be 
called such. I was such a good boy that my mother 
certainly expected me to be a Presbyterian clergyman, 
and my father, I knew, was educating me for the bar. 
I knew I should disappoint both of them. When I had 
been in college about six months, I became very home- 
sick and wanted to go home. When I thought of all 
the money it would cost my poor father to keep me 
there, and that he had a family of eight children to sup- 
port, I decided to relinquish my college course, return 
home, and help him to support his family. At last I 
became desperate, and, without giving any notice to my 
father or the faculty, I left college and went home. I 
got a young friend of mine, from Charleston, South 
Carolina, Peter Porcher, to answer for me at prayers 
and recitations. At prayers it was all right, and he had 
only to respond, " Here," when my name was called. 
At recitations, if I were called upon, all Mr. Porcher 
would have to answer was, " ISTot prepared, sir " ; and 
the professor would never look up to see if the right 
man gave the answer or not ; but would merely put a 
mark against my name. When a fellow failed to recite, 
it was called a "flash." 

My visit home was altogether unexpected to my 
family. My father was absent, fortunately for me, and 
when I entered the house my mother did not run to 
take me to her bosom, as I expected she would, but 
looked at me with the utmost surprise and said : " What 


in the world, Marion, brings you home?" I told her 
of my nnhappiness at remaining in college, and my 
great wish to come home and to become a merchant's 
clerk, and help my father to make a living for us all. 
My poor mother said : " My dear boy, you are a fool- 
ish fellow. Your father knows best what is the proper 
thing for you, and I am glad that he is not at borne to 
experience the mortification which I feel in seeing you 
here now. He will not be at home until to-morrow 
evening, and you must start back to college to-morrow 
morning before be sees you." 

I was exceedingly mortified at having done such a 
mean thing ; and so, with a heavy heart, the next morn- 
ing I left my dear mother and returned to college. I 
had been absent about three days, and I was not missed 
at college during my absence. 

Dr. Cooper was president of the college. He was a 
man considerably over seventy years old, a remarkable 
looking man. He was never called Dr. Cooper, but 
* Old Coot." " Coot " is the short for " cooter," a name 
generally applied south to the terrapin, and the name 
suited him exactlv. He was less than five feet hiorh, 
and his head was the biggest part of the whole man. 
He was a perfect taper from the side of his head down 
to his feet ; he looked like a wedge with a head on it. 
He was a man of great intellect and remarkable learning. 
Xext to President Cooper, Professor Henry was perhaps 
the ablest man in the faculty. Professor Xott was an 
able man and a lovely character, but not a man of a great 


deal of force. The other professors, of mathematics 
(Wallace), and languages (Parks), were very ordinary 
men, very old, and without the confidence and respect 
of the class. Dr. Cooper exerted a very bad influence 
on the interests of the college. He was a pronounced 
infidel, and every year lectured on the " Authenticity of 
the Pentateuch. " to the senior class, generally six or 
eight weeks before their graduation. 

There was no necessity for his delivering this lecture. 
It did not belong to his chair of political economy. 
Nor was it necessary as president. I have always won- 
dered why the trustees of the college permitted him to 
go out of the routine of the duties of his office and de- 
liver a lecture of this sort to a set of young men just 
starting out in the world. I am amazed, at this late 
day, that a country as full of Presbyterianism and 
bigotry as that was at that time should have tolerated 
a man in his position, especially when advocating and 
lecturing upon such an unnecessary subject. Dr. Cooper 
lived before his day. If he had flourished now, in the 
days of Darwin and Tyndall and Huxley, he would have 
been a greater infidel than any or all three of them put 

Soon after I arrived at college the new friends I had 
made there invited me to go to Mr. Isaac Lyons's oyster 
saloon and join them in an oyster supper. It was al- 
ways the habit of the young man inviting his compan- 
ions to Lyons's to stand the treat of oysters and wine 
for the crowd. I never had taken a glass of wine in my 


life before but once. That was the fourth of July, 
when I was about nine years old. There was a celebra- 
tion at my father's house, and dinner was seryed under 
the great mulberry trees in the yard. A half-dozen boys 
of us were given places at the lower end of the table. 
While toasts were being drunk, some gentlemen passed 
the wine to the boys and they were all allowed to help 
themselyes. I am sure I didn't drink more than two 
table-spoonf nls of Madeira wine ; the other boys drank 
much more than I did. Eyerybody was haying a good 
time and enjoying the occasion exceedingly. Unfortu- 
nately, I had to be carried to the house, in the course of 
half an hour, and put to bed, dead drunk. I was ex- 
ceedingly mortified, and I neyer drank any liquor after 
that until I went to college. The first ni^ht that I went 
to supper with the young men at Mr. Lyons's I indulged 
in a small glass of Madeira. The others drank freely ; 
none of them seemed to feel it. When we started to 
return to the college I had to go with a man on each 
side of me. I was so drunk that I would haye fallen 
if left alone. I felt very unhappy about it. I said : 
" Boys, it is very odd that you can all drink wine and 
I can not. But I am determined to learn to drink 

So this experiment was tried three or four times in 
two or three months. Each time I had to be taken 
home to the college, more than half a mile. Then I 
said to my companions : " See here, boys, I don't un- 
derstand how this is. There must be something 


peculiar in my organization. Yon can all drink and 
I can not. You like wine and I do not. I hate it ; 
its taste is disagreeable. Its effects are dreadful, be- 
cause it makes me drunk. Now, I hope you all will 
understand the position I occupy. I don't think it is 
right for you to ask me to drink wine when I don't 
want it, and it produces such a bad effect upon me." 
They all agreed that they would not ask me to drink 
wine again. 

Since then I have never taken wine or brandy, ex- 
cept in sickness, when it has been prescribed for me 
and urged upon me by the doctor. Even a drop of 
brandy put on my tongue is felt instantly in my knees 
and all over my whole system ; and although I have 
often, over and over again, been compelled to take 
brandy, I don't think I can recall one single instance 
in which I have been conscious of any beneficial ef- 
fects from it. I recall many instances in which it pro- 
duced decidedly disagreeable and uncomfortable effects. 

Mr. Lyons's saloon was patronized by every young 
man who had ever gone through the South Carolina 
College, from its foundation up to my day (1832). He 
was one of the kindest and best of men, to everybody 
in the world, and particularly to the students. He 
would trust them to any amount, and for any length 
of time. He never asked them for money; he lent 
them money if they wanted it, and he was looked upon 
as the student's friend always. When I left college 
I owed him two hundred dollars. I had been there 


:~ .. -:.::: :::,_:i^ He ~15 1t~t: 

known, to accept interr?: in i :,.- :-.i~ ~:.i_i mi 
i:.i ::i::i::i :. ill if ~ 1,5 ne^er in: - 1 :•: i.: - f :iinii 
:ifi: ::: :nj ir:::if :ii: iifj iii i:: Lii. :~ n:r-f 
:.Ln :: ~ .:- ~ :ni. I 5.1:1 :; Lin: " V:, L7.-15. I in 
afraid yon have lost a great deal of money by us boys." 
He said: ^Xo, sir; I have never lost a dollar in my 
life. I have been here twenty years, trusting students, 
mi I li~e :r~e: !:«=: .: if':: ~e:. ^"ififTfr :-, 5Tiiei: 
returns home he is almost sure to send me the money 
very soon or to bring it to me as you have done. If 
he fails to do it he writes to me and explains why he 
can not do it. In three or four instances young men 
L'.~r :::: :. . lfi~ ii^* Lir^e ie::.= :;e iii i :lfn n 
^- :V:r. Tifv ^~~ iffi 5iiifi> 5:r::ifi ::~ 1 zj 
ff~fr^ :: r iiei. Li f~frr i_ 

:if rirfr.:= i.".~f 5fi: mf :_r riL 5111 ::' i_ :ifv — -:e 
owing me, without my even calling on them for it." 

Well, I dragged through college in isBl- Si'. I 
was not remarkable for anything ¥oy bad or very 
I*::-!. I —.15 ki;-~ i> 1 5r.i-~i.Ti. :i: i—inilf fel- 
low. My recitations were about average; not very 
good or very bad. I was very small when I was eigh- 
teen, and weighed but one hundred and eight pounds. 
Hamilton Boykin, of Camden, South Carolina, was my 
:in. ni if —15 :if :f :"if i::-f5: ~z-:j$ - f~fr i:if— . 
He was a few months younger than I, and was not 
quite so tall, but looked a little stouter. Still, when 
we got into the scales, we just balanced each other. 


Each of us weighed just one hundred and eight 

I didn't know one card from another until I went 
to college, and there the students taught me to play- 
whist. The Pedee boys taught me (Cannon, Evans, 
Williamson, Ellerbe, and four or five others), and we 
usually had a game of whist two or three times a 
week. Cannon was a funny fellow. At every game 
of cards, not with every hand, he would often whistle 
out and say: "Well, boys — 

" There was a man, he had a cow, 
And nothing for to feed her; 
He slapped his hand npon her rump, 
And said, ' Consider, cow, consider.' " 

Immediately Has. Ellerbe would look up and com- 
plain of Cannon's senseless couplet. " Look here, 
Cannon, don't tell that cow to consider any more. 
Now, you have a private understanding with your part- 
ner. When you lay stress on ' consider,' you mean one 
thing ; and when you lay it on slap, you mean another ; 
you may as well tell him to lead trumps, or not to lead 
trumps. I am opposed to your saying * consider ' so 
often, and insist on your playing the game without 
bringing up that darned old cow of the farmer who 
had ' nothing for to feed her.' " 


Historr of dueling in South Carolina — The killing of Adams and Columbus 
Nixon — The Blair-Evans duel, how it was prevented — The Massey- 
Mittag encounter. 

I lived in the age of dueling. I was educated to 
believe that duels insured the proprieties of society 
aud protected the honor of women. I have hardly a 
doubt but that, while I was a student in the South Caro- 
lina College, if anything had happened to have made it 
necessary for me to fight a duel, I would have gone 
out with the utmost coolness and allowed myself to be 
shot down. But my views on that subject were entirely 
changed, a long, long time ago. 

The boys got up a mock duel one day between 
Frank Massey and Robert Burns. Frank was in the 
secret but poor Burns was not. But he behaved brave- 
ly. They fired cork bullets at each other. I always 
thought it a hard and foolish game to play off on a 
good fellow like Robert Burns. 

There was a real duel in South Carolina College, 
just after I graduated. It was between Roach, of Col- 
leton, and Adams, of Richland District. Roach was a 
young man about six feet high and a physical beauty. 


Adams was no less so, though not so tall. Both men 
were of fine families, and Adams was supposed to be a 
young man of talent and promise. It occurred in this 
way : They were very intimate friends ; they sat oppo- 
site to each other in the Stewards' Hall, at table. 
When the bell rang and the door was opened, the stu- 
dents rushed in, and it was considered a matter of hon- 
or, when a man got hold of a dish of butter or bread, 
or any other dish, it was his. Unfortunately, Roach 
and Adams sat opposite each other, and both caught 
hold of a dish of trout at the same moment. Adams 
did not let go ; Roach held on to the dish. Pres- 
ently Roach let go of the dish and glared fiercely 
in Adams's face, and said : " Sir, I will see you after 
supper." They sat there all through the supper, both 
looking like mad bulls, I presume. Roach left the 
supper-room first, and Adams immediately followed 
him. Roach waited outside the door for Adams. 
There were no hard words and no fisticuffs — all was 
dignity and solemnity. "Sir," said Roach, "What 
can I do to insult you?" Adams replied, "This is 
enough, sir, and you will hear from me." Adams 
immediately went to his room and sent a challenge to 
Roach. It was promptly accepted, and each went up 
town and selected seconds and advisers. And now 
comes the strange part of this whole affair : No less a 
person than General Pierce M. Butler, distinguished 
in the Mexican war as the colonel of the Palmetto regi- 
ment, and who became Governor of South Carolina, 


agreed to act as second to one of these young men. 
The other man had as his adviser Mr. D. J. McCord, 
a distinguished lawyer, a most eminent citizen, a man of 
great talents, whose name lives in the judicial records 
of the state as being the author of McCord and Eott's 
reports. Here were two of the most prominent citi- 
zens of South Carolina, each of them about forty years 
of age, aiding and abetting dueling between two 
young men, neither of them over twenty years of age. 
They fought at Lightwood Knot Springs, ten miles 
from Columbia. They were both men of the coolest 
courage. My friend Dr. Josiah C. Nott, then of Colum- 
bia, and afterward of Mobile, Alabama, who died some 
eight years ago in Mobile, was the surgeon to one of 
the parties. They were to fight at ten paces distant. 
They were to fire at the word "one," raising their 
pistols. There are two methods of dueling: One is 
to hold the pistol erect, pointing heavenward, drop- 
ping it at right angles with the body at the word 
" Fire ! " and then firing at the word one, two, or three ; 
the other is to hold the muzzle down toward the earth, 
and then at the word to raise it at arm's length and 
fire. The latter method was adopted at the Roach- 
Adams duel. "When the word "Fire !" was given, each 
started to raise his pistol; but each had on a frock- 
coat, and the flap of Roach's coat caught on his arm, 
and prevented his pistol from rising. When Adams 
saw that, he lowered his pistol to the ground. The 
word was then given a second time : " Are you ready ? 


Fire ! One ! " They both shot simultaneously ; Dr. Nott 
said it was impossible to tell which was before the 

Adams was shot through the pelvis, and he ling- 
ered a few hours and died in great agony. Roach 
was shot through the right hip-joint, two or three 
inches below where his ball entered Adams's body. 
He lingered for a long time, and came near dying 
of blood-poisoning; but after weeks and months of 
suffering, he was able to get up, but was lame for life. 
I presume he was one of the most unhappy wretches 
on the face of the earth. He had killed his best 
friend, became very dissipated, and always, when he 
was drunk, the murder of Adams was his theme of 
conversation ; doubtless, when he was sober, it troubled 
his conscience. He studied medicine and went to Phila- 
delphia, to the Jefferson Medical College, and there he 
gave himself up entirely to dissipation. He had deli- 
rium tremens and died in Philadelphia, in an attack of 
it ; I think it was in the month of January, 1836. 
During the latter part of his illness he was imagining 
that he was in hell, and begging the author of all tor- 
ments to pour molten lead down his throat to quench 
his thirst. This account was given to me by a young 
man who was an eye-witness of this death-bed scene. 

Dueling was the bane of the age in which I lived, 
in my native state. Many valuable lives were sacri- 
ficed to it. I will never forget how the whole country 
was turned into mourning over the death of Colum- 

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young man by the name of Evans, married, a lawyer, 
and the conductor of a weekly paper at Camden, op- 
posed the manner of the canvass made by General Blair, 
and he had occasion to say something not over-com- 
plimentary of the hero of Lynch's Creek, which was 
very offensive to the General, and the latter thereupon 
sent him a challenge. Evans didn't want to fight; 
but public opinion would brand any man as a coward, 
at that day and time, who refused to fight a duel. So 
he was obliged to accept the challenge. They went to 
Augusta, and I have heard Evans recount to my father 
ail the circumstances of the duel : of his sensations ; of 
his firing ; of his anxieties as he rode to the field. 
He said he didn't think that he ever felt so miserable 
in all his life as he did when the crowd of Geor- 
gians, who got wind of the duel and gathered to see 
the sport, were standing around, and when he and 
Blair had taken their positions at ten paces distant, 
with pistols all ready. Just then he heard one 
Georgian, a rough-looking customer, say to another, 
"By G-d, Bob, I will bet you five dollars that the 
big man kills the little one." This was just before 
he heard the word " Fire ! " given ; and when he heard 
the word "Fire!" given, and looked into the muzzle 
of Blair's pistol, it looked as large to him as a flour- 
barrel. He pulled away ; they fired at the same time ; 
he missed Blair, though Blair was as big as a barn- 
door and weighed three hundred and fifty pounds. 
Blair shattered his right arm, and made Evans a crip- 


pie for life. It is said that Blair, previously to the 
challenge, had ridden into Evans's house in a drunken 
condition, and where Mrs. Evans was sitting beside 
the cradle where her babe lay, and charged his horse 
over the cradle. This was the story told at the time 
all over the country, but I never believed it, though 
there were plenty of people in South Carolina who 
did believe it. 

As General Blair grew older, he grew more pol- 
itic, and cared less for fighting a duel than formerly. 
However, Colonel Hammond, subsequently Governor of 
South Carolina, who was the conductor of a public 
press in Columbia, had occasion, in the course of a 
criticism upon Blair's conduct in Congress, to say some 
hard things of him ; whereupon, Blair, in the heat 
of the affair, sent Hammond a challenge. Hammond 
accepted, probably, with thanks. There was nothing 
else for him to do. They were to fight at the 
corner-stone of the line dividing North and South 
Carolina, eight or ten miles from Lancaster. The two 
parties met in Lancaster. The Blair party stopped at 
my father's house, and the Hammond party stopped 
at Gill's Hotel. Colonel Witherspoon, Dr. Jones, the 
Masseys, and some of the other influential citizens, in- 
cluding my father, were determined that this duel 
should not take place. For one time, there were men 
found in South Carolina who dared face public opin- 
ion, and save two men, whose lives were useful, from 
throwing them away so foolishly. The affair was 


easily settled. It was easy enough for Hammond to 
say that he didn't mean to offend General Blair by 
what he had written, and General Blair then could 
easily retract the challenge. The whole thing was 
arranged in ten minutes. So the friends of the former 
agreed to bring Hammond to my father's house, to 
meet General Blair, which was done. They had never 
met each other before. I was about eleven years old, 
and I remember seeing the tall, handsome, and grace- 
ful Hammond introduced to the magnificent giant 
Blair. They shook hands, and both seemed very hap- 
py, and everybody else was as happy as they were. 

When General Blair was a younger man, he was 
making a visit to his friend Dr. Bartlett Jones, of 
Lancaster. While he was sitting in the parlor, talk- 
ing to the doctor, Mrs. Jones, being in the dining-room 
adjoining with a very pretty young girl, said to her, 
"Come here, my dear, and look through the key- 
hole into the parlor, and you will see the great Gen- 
eral Blair." The young girl went softly to the door, 
looked through the key-hole, and saw the General. 
She at once drew back, clapped her hands, and, jump- 
ing up, exclaimed : " What a splendid-looking man he 
is ! He is just the style of man that I like, and I in- 
tend to marry him." And what is strange, this same 
young lady did eventually become the wife of General 
Blair. She did not weigh more than one hundred 
pounds, while the general's weight was over three hun- 
dred pounds. The young lady was rich and well edu- 


cated, and had everything to recommend her. He had 
social position and power, and was looked npon as a 
great man in his day and time. But as a representative 
in Congress he disgraced himself beyond measure. He 
was continually drunk during the last year he was 
in Congress, and on one occasion he went into a theatre, 
and in a state of delirium tremens, while the play was 
going on, he drew his pistol and fired at the stage. 
He was removed from the theatre by the police, and 
to the last day of his life it was a source of the bit- 
terest regret to him. 

It is said that cowards sometimes fight duels; that 
dueling is no evidence of courage or bravery. I am 
perfectly satisfied of this. A very remarkable duel took 
place between two Lancaster men about the year 1836. 
A young man named Herschell Massey (we called him 
" Herscli "), belonging to one of the first families in the 
district (a son of Mr. Sikes Massey), often affected the 
rowdy, and yet there was much of the gentleman about 
him. He rather wanted to be looked upon as a bully, 
but he was a man of more heart than the world gave 
him credit for. He had some personal difficulty with 
Mr. Mittag on account of an election. Mittag was al- 
ways antagonistic to the chivalric sentiment that per- 
vaded South Carolina. Massey, thinking Mittag a cow- 
ard, challenged him. Mittag knew very well that he 
had always been considered as a coward in that country. 
He had not been understood. And he said to himself : 
" I don't think I am a coward ; I am going to fight this 


thing through." So he went to Camden and put him- 
self under the training of the great duelist Chapman 
Levy, a man whose advice had always been sought in 
every duel that had been fought in the upper part of 
South Carolina for many years. Levy put Mittag 
through a course of training, and he became a pretty good 
shot, and thus worked himself up to the highest pitch 
of physical and moral courage. They went to Chester- 
field District to fight, and, strange to say,, Massey, who 
was always regarded as a brave man, was very unwilling 
to fight, and it is said that he would gladly have got 
out of the affair if it had been possible. Mittag, who 
was regarded as a coward, never flinched. He felt that 
he had nothing to live for; was without friends and 
without sympathy; and he determined to sacrifice his 
life, or to prove to the world that he was no longer to 
be called a coward. 

When they took their stations, Mittag was the pict- 
ure of coolness and determination. Massey was so de- 
spondent in seeing this manifestation of courage that 
he was almost disarmed, and fought the duel under dis- 
advantageous circumstances ; for he was demoralized by 
all his surroundings. When the word " Fire ! " was 
given, both raised their pistols together. Mittag was 
shot through the thigh; Massey was not hurt. Mittag 
bore his wound with heroism and patience, and he 
begged to be tied up to a little sapling and have an- 
other shot at Massey ; but the seconds interfered and de- 
clared that there must be no more bloodshed and risk of 


life. Massey was my school-fellow. He was two years 
my junior. With all his bad qualities, he had some 
noble traits of character. He was kind and generous 
and sympathetic, and, knowing him as I did when he 
was a boy, I was surprised that, as a man, he manifested 
so many characteristics of the bully and rowdy. Mittag 
was a man of great culture and refinement, and a native 
of Hagerstown, Maryland. He was educated in Wash- 
ington College, Pennsylvania, and had gone to South 
Carolina with John Harris, when he was called to the 
charge of the Franklin Academy, in 1827. He there 
studied law with Mr. Howard, and set himself up as a 
practitioner. However, he failed utterly in all this. He 
was a ripe scholar, and one of the handsomest men I 
ever saw. He had a high, classical head, the very pict- 
ure of Shakespeare to look at, elevated and refined, and 
more beautiful, if anything, than Shakespeare's ; at least, 
so I thought, of any I have ever seen. He was a philoso- 
pher, a scholar, and, in my early days, I loved him 
dearly. I was fond of him because he had no friends, 
and because he was kind to me. He took a great fancy 
to me, and used to write my Greek lessons for me, and 
gave me advice about my future course of life. From 
that day to this he has been my devoted friend and oc- 
casional correspondent. Many a man has lived before 
his time ; Mittag lived two or three thousand years after 
his. If he had lived in the days of Socrates or Plato, 
he would then have been regarded as a great philoso- 
pher, for he was learned in the old classics, and had a 


philosophy of life that was not at all suited to the age in 
which he lived. 

We are what we are by education, and hardly any 
man is responsible for his opinions, or in his youth for 
his acts. "When I was a boy, in college, I was so imbued 
with the correctness of dueling that I am sure that if 
I had been challenged, or thought I had any occasion, I 
would not have hesitated to put my life in jeopardy in 
defense of a principle of honor. 


College days continued — A midnight serenade — Almost a murder — The 
class of 1831 — Its personnel — Class of 1832 — Cole's visit from a 
ghost — Fire at the college — Cole's heroism. 

Two things occurred during my college life which 
always have been matters of regret and sorrow to me. 
The first was this : Most of the young men boarded in 
the Steward's Hall. Many of them got tired of bad 
bread, bad meat, bad butter, bad manners, and bad every- 
thing. It was served at a cheap rate for young men 
who boarded in the Steward's Hall. Some of us at last 
got tired, and we went up-town and engaged board in a 
private house. So about a dozen of us, or possibly 
fifteen of us, boarded at a house kept by a lady who 
lived near the old capitol, whose name I have now for- 
gotten. "William Boykin sat at the head of the table. 
At his right sat James Aiken. I sat next to James 
Aiken ; Boykin Witherspoon sat next to me. One day, 
as we were sitting down to dinner, at one o'clock, James 
Aiken, who was a very popular, fine young fellow, play- 
fully pulled my chair out from behind me. I happened 
to see it, and didn't sit down, but mechanically turned 
around and pulled \Yitherspoon's chair from under him. 


Witherspoon didn't see me, and lie fell plump on the 
floor. He was a man of great dignity, a grand, noble 
fellow to look at, and a grand, noble fellow from every 
point of view : morally, socially, and intellectually. He 
was a man much respected and much beloved. When 
he arose, I apologized in the humblest manner that I 
possibly could. I assured him that I did not intend to 
throw him down, that I regretted it then, and that I was 
not ashamed to say that I was heartily sorry and should 
regret it always. I hoped he would receive my apology 
in the spirit in which it was tendered. He received it 
very gruffly, saying that he was not at all satisfied. He 
could not get over the indignity offered to his person. 
After dinner, he spoke to me of the matter again. 
Again I repeated the apology ; and still he was not satis- 
fied. I then became indignant, and said : " I have done 
all that a gentleman can do. Now, sir, help yourself ." I 
did not want to appear before my comrades as if I were 
afraid of anything or anybody. If Witherspoon had 
been a fool, he would have challenged me. If he had 
been a coward, he would have knocked me over ; for I 
was a little fellow, and he was a big fellow. He was 
too much of the man to perpetrate any such outrageous 
acts. I always felt sorry for it ; I never saw him dur- 
ing our intercourse at college without feeling unhappy, 
though it never was mentioned. He never liked me 
after that unfortunate day. I never saw him without 
thinking of it. However, later in our student life, in 
Charleston, South Carolina, two years after this, my 


heart was gladdened by a social visit from Boykin 
"Witherspoon. I was glad, and I felt that if he had not 
forgotten, he had certainly forgiven the unfortunate 
affair and the foolish freak of a college boy. I had 
great respect and admiration for him, as for no other 
young man in all the college. I am now satisfied that if 
Witherspoon had been foolish enough to have challenged 
me to a duel, I should have accepted it, even at the risk 
of losing my own life or of killing him. So much for 
a faulty education and for a depraved sentiment of 
public opinion. 

Another unfortunate thing, which gave me great re- 
gret ever since, occurred during my college life. Hufus 
Nott was my junior ; he was a sophomore when I was 
a junior. He was the son of the great Judge Nott of 
South Carolina, one of the younger brothers of the dis- 
tinguished Josiah C. Nott, already alluded to in this 
story. One day he said to me, " Marion, do you want 
to go with me and George Ellis and John Wells, and 
two or three other boys, out to Barhamville to give the 
girls a serenade ? " This was in the month of May, 
1831. Dr. Marks had established a high -school for 
young ladies at Barhamville, two miles from Columbia, 
out in the Sand Hills, a mile or more beyond the Luna- 
tic Asylum. Young ladies were sent there from all 
parts of the State to school, as it was the first and only 
school of its character at the South. It was of a very 
high class, and most of the young men of the college 
had sweethearts, or cousins, or sisters attending this 


school. " Kufe," as we used to call him, took a loaded 
gun with him, and also a bottle of whisky ; and instead 
of having a hired fiddler to go out serenading the girls, 
we had purchased a number of little tin trumpets and 
school-children's drums. So we went out, thus armed, 
for our serenade. 

The night was beautiful ; a full moon shining. It 
was about eleven o'clock when we arrived. The 
house was situated on an elevated knoll in the pine 
woods, surrounded by a beautiful drive and gardens in 
a state of high cultivation. We marched around this 
magnificent house, and everything seemed to be as 
quiet and silent as the grave itself. We were beating 
the drums, and playing the little tin trumpets, and mak- 
ing a heathenish, hellish noise. After satisfying our- 
selves with this exploit, we started off. Unfortunately, 
Dr. Marks had become so incensed that he dressed him- 
self and descended, with a shot-gun in hand, to fire at 
the boys. "We had got nearly down to the gate, some 
two or three hundred yards from the house, when Dr. 
Marks came, with his gun in his hand, running in great 
haste ; he fired his gun, loaded with bird-shot. Un- 
luckily, one of the shot struck Rufus Nott in the lower 
lip, and one or two in the forehead ; he bit the shot 
out of his lower lip. He had a gun in his hand, with a 
flint-and-steel lock ; it was loaded with bird-shot, and 
he started to run after the doctor, who, after discharging 
his gun, turned his back and ran for the college. Nott 
ran after him, and he was not more than ten steps in his 


rear. He pulled the trigger of his gun, and the fire 
could be seen rolling to the ground. Two or three 
times he pulled the trigger back ; there was a flash in 
the pan, and the gun did not go off. If it had, the 
whole charge would have gone into the back of Dr. 
Marks. When all this was over, I began to think about 
it. I saw how foolish an act we had been guilty of; 
how providentially we had escaped murder and its con- 
sequences. " Rufe " Nott is now living in Texas, prac- 
ticing medicine, and a planter ; a man greatly beloved 
and honored; and doubtless he regrets the foolish act 
of ours that night out at Barhamville as much as I have 
for the last fifty years. 

The graduating class of the South Carolina College, 
in 1831, possessed more talent in it, and men of more 
promise, than any other half-dozen classes that had been 
turned out of it since the foundation of the institution 
in 1807 or 1808. Thornwell was first-honor man ; Glad- 
ney was his great antagonist, and, by common consent 
among the students, the award of the faculty was the 
proper one ; and students are generally good judges of 
the qualifications of the members of the different classes. 
I do not remember all the men of this class who have 
arrived at distinction ; but Gladney, with all his talent, 
and all his distinction, and all his promise, never got 
higher than to be the head of a fashionable female 
academy. McGrath, of Charleston, was a man of great 
promise, and all thought that he would make his mark 
in the highest degree. Northrop was a brilliant, mete- 


oric fellow, who graduated in December, 1831, and was 
returned the next autumn as a member of the House of 
Representatives from Charleston, and he came back to 
us a dignified member of the South Carolina Legislature. 
We were all very proud of him. Such a thing had not 
happened before, as a graduate of the college going into 
politics and into the halls of the Legislature within 
twelve months after he left college. Northrop, though, 
didn't half fulfill the expectations of his friends ; he 
didn't achieve any great reputation for solidarity, but he 
was an eloquent, good talker, though perhaps too super- 
ficial. His death was very sudden ; his life was un- 
happy, and there was something odd about his marriages, 
his second in particular; but it isn't my business here 
to record it. During our great civil war, when Sherman 
was making his march to the sea, and sweeping around 
through my native State to make his way to Richmond, 
Northrop had retired from Charleston, and had taken 
up his abode in a little cabin in Lancaster. He was 
living in this little cabin, about a mile from the village. 
When I was there in 1877, the spot was pointed out to 
me — an oak-tree, on which the Yankees hung Nor- 
throp. He was supposed to belong to the upper crust 
of Charleston, who had taken refuge in that obscure 
place, and that he must of necessity have money or plate 
hidden away ; and so he was called upon by some of 
the roughs that went through the country, " hangers-on " 
upon Sherman's army. He was found at this place and 
called upon to give up his hidden wealth. He declared 


that he had nothing in the world to give them. They 
did not believe him, and said that they had heard that 
same story before, and too often, and they proposed to 
bring him to his senses and an acknowledgment of the 
truth. They tied a rope aronnd his neck and drew him 
np to one of the limbs of the oak-tree. They let him 
down again, but he protested that he had nothing, and 
that if he had, he would give it up if they would spare 
his life. They did not believe him, and drew him up 
again ; but, unfortunately, they kept him there too long, 
and life was extinct when he was cut down. 

There were in the South Carolina College two socie- 
ties, literary societies, viz., the Euphradian and the 
Clariosophic. The number of members was about equal- 
ly divided; and a county that once had a representa- 
tion in one society, continued nearly always to send its 
students to that society afterward. The Lancaster boys 
were all members of the Euphradian society, and so, of 
course, I was a Euphradian. Thornwell was the great 
orator of the society, and there was not a man who could 
measure arms with him. Vincent would have been 
considered a good argumentative member if there had 
been no man superior to him ; but Thornwell was the 
great orator of the society, and he was such a giant in 
intellect that, when it came to the discussion of a sub- 
ject, he overrode everything with the strong will of his 
mighty genius, and everybody else seemed to be a mere 
pygmy in his grasp. Thornwell was perhaps one of 
the greatest intellects that the South Carolina College 


has ever produced, and second only to John C. Calhoun. 
Calhoun knew him well, and looked upon him as the 
coming man for the South. He thought that he would 
eventually fill his own place in the councils of the 
nation. Thornwell was the son of a poor man living 
near Darlington District, South Carolina. He was a 
poor, dirty-looking, malarial-looking boy, weighing about 
ninety or one hundred pounds when he joined the junior 
class of the South Carolina College. He was very small, 
very thin, very pale, and looked as if he had never had 
enough to eat. He was very frail, and looked like 
he could not have run a mile without fatigue. He was 
a hard student, and had a wonderful memory, a great 
command of language, great logical powers, and alto- 
gether he was one of the most brilliant men I have ever 
known. When he graduated he went home, and we all 
expected that he would study law, and predicted for him 
a brilliant career ; for in that day and time everybody 
looked upon the law as the stepping-stone to prefer- 
ment, and to power, and to position. 

I shall never forget the disappointment I felt when 
Thornwell, so I had heard, had joined the Presbyte- 
rian Church, and that he would not devote himself to 
the law and to politics, but that he would go into the 
ministry. He was no more religious than I was when 
he was in college; still he was a power, and a good 
man. After he went home he studied law, or began 
to, and he happened to meet his old friend Dick 
Baker, who was a class-mate of mine. Baker invited 


him to come down to Sumpter District for a visit, and 
he went down during the summer. Dick had a sister, 
a beautiful and accomplished young woman. Thorn- 
well fell in love with her, and wanted to marry her. 
She was a rigid member of the Presbyterian Church, 
and they talked a good deal about religion, and he 
professed to be inquiring the way of salvation. They 
had many conversations on the subject, and some per- 
sons had given him one book on the subject, and some 
another, for him to read. He read and studied them 
all, and at last he was as far from the convincing evi- 
dence as ever. Then this beautiful woman told him 
if he would take the ordinary Confession of Faith, and 
study that, she thought that there he would see the 
truth. He did so, and he rose from its perusal a 
converted man ; and from that time he determined 
to give himself to the Church. But, what is strange, 
Miss Baker did not marry him. I do not know that 
I could blame her; for physically he was nothing, 
though intellectually he was a giant. Thornwell sub- 
sequently became President of the South Carolina Col- 
lege ; he became a power in the State politics, though 
he never held any political office ; he was the head 
of the Theological Seminary ; he was a power in the 
Presbyterian Church, and a great power outside of it. 
His brilliant talents were given to preaching Jesus 
Christ and him crucified ; to educate the youth of the 
State, to writing polemic theological disquisitions, and 
to beating the air with abstractions in religion, and 


teaching doctrines all of which must eventually pass 
away. He was a great man, and I shall have more 
to say of him and his theology by and by. 

If the class of 1831, which graduated that year, 
was so conspicuous for its talent, my own class, which 
graduated in 1832 (December), represented the other 
extreme, and was equally conspicuous for its want of 
talent, excepting possibly Lessesne and Mitchell. Pre- 
vious to the class of 1832, the class honors had usually 
been distributed to about a dozen ; though of course 
below the fifth honor there was little or no import- 
ance attached to it. However, in ThornwelPs class, 
they had given thirteen honors, while in my own 
they had given only one, divided between Lessesne 
and Mitchell. It was the verdict of my class that 
Mitchell should have the first honor. Still, Lessesne 
was a very good student, but was not equal to Mitchell 
in his qualifications and his claims. Still, as Lessesne 
was about to marry the daughter of President Cooper, 
it was very likely that this fact had something to do 
with getting the first honor divided with Mitchell. 
There were none given after that, and very justly; 
for none of them were worthy of anything. 

We can not always judge of a man by his looks. 
Some small, puny men, like Thornwell, are men of 
very great force. There was an illustration of this 
in a young man named James P. Cole, who was a 
junior when I was senior. He came from Abbey ville 
District. He was a small man. I always had sym- 


pathy for small men, for I was a little fellow myself, 
and had an unbounded admiration for large men, and 
always admired and envied them. Cole was a quiet, 
unobtrusive fellow, had some friends, but had few 
warm ones among the students. He was a good 
student, had few or no bad habits, and was never seen 
at Mr. Lyons's at an oyster supper, and never drank wine. 
He always made good recitations, and was altogether 
a model young man. Soon after he joined college, 
he was sitting one night about ten o'clock in his room, 
studying very hard, and there was a rap at his door. 
He said, " Come in." The door was opened and a 
ghost appeared, in the shape of a tall man, with a sheet 
wrapped around him, and a dough face. Cole was no 
more frightened at that ghost than he was at himself. 
He just quietly looked around and said, "My young 
friend, I advise you not to repeat that experiment." 
The fellow was very much disappointed in seeing Cole's 
coolness, and never spoke a word ; and went away, clos- 
ing the door after him. 

Cole thought it very likely that this ghost would 
repeat the visit at some future time, and so he pre- 
pared himself. He had a pistol, which he laid out at 
the end of his table, loaded and cocked ; determined, 
if the ghost appeared again, he would give him a 
"pop." About a week or ten days after this time, 
at the same hour at night, it tapped again at the door, 
which was heard by Cole, and who thought that per- 
haps it was his ghost that had come again to make him 


another call. So he laid his hand on his pistol and 
said, "Come in," in response to the knock. Sure 
enough, it was the very ghost again. Cole did not 
say one word. He simply raised his pistol and fired at 
the ghost's head. The ghost fortunately jerked its 
head away just in time to prevent the bullet perfor- 
ating its brain. It struck the facing of the door, just 
on a level with the ghost's head. Nobody ever knew 
who that ghost was; it was a profound secret to the 
ghost and the college boys. But one man was always 
suspected, and that was a tall, slender fellow, named 
Cosnahan, from the Peedee District. He was always 
suspected of being that ghost. 

Cosnahan was the only fellow in the college who 
didn't seem to have a warm bosom friend. He was 
always treated politely, but nobody loved him. No- 
body cared for him. He was a great novel-reader and 
a great smoker ; a dirty-looking fellow, without any of 
the characteristics that engender enthusiasm. 

During my last year in college, one day in the spring 
of the year, it must have been as early as March, for it 
was the time when fires were very rare but when it 
was necessary to have one occasionally in our rooms, an 
alarm of fire was given in the south college, and at 
the west end of the south building, which was three 
stories high, the smoke was pouring out from the top 
of the roof. The fire-bells were rung, messengers were 
sent up-town, and we were waiting the appearance of 
the fire-department with great anxiety. Our hearts 


were breaking to see our college on the eve of being 
destroyed. We were standing on the campus, with 
our eyes and mouths wide open, wondering if the fire- 
companies could not get there sooner, when all at once 
a small man was seen to emerge from the cupola on 
the same building, and to walk along on the cone of 
the roof, with a bucket poised in each hand, deliberately 
walking to the place where the roof was on fire, 
and from which the smoke emanated. He was follow- 
ed by some colored men, and two or three of the stu- 
dents afterward. When we looked up and saw that 
this young man, Cole, was the organizer of this volun- 
tary little fire-department or brigade, shouts of "hurrah ! " 
rang out in the wildest enthusiasm from the boys who 
stood on the campus below. Cole, by his heroism 
and daring example of courage, had saved the college 
building, while the rest of us were standing idly on the 
campus below waiting to see it burn down. From 
that day Cole was a hero, and everybody admired and 
loved him. He still lives near Galveston, Texas, has 
risen to honor and eminence in his profession, that of 
the law, become the father of a family, and is greatly 
honored and respected in the town where he has lived 
so long. 


I graduate from college and choose a profession — My father's disappoint- 
ment — I begin the study of medieine — The masquerade ball and 

I graduated from Columbia College in December, 
1832. I never was remarkable for anything while I was 
in college, except good behavior. Nobody ever ex- 
pected anything of me, and I never expected anything 
of myself. I felt real sorry that the time was draw- 
ing near that I would have to assume the stern duties 
and responsibilities of real life and of manhood. I 
left college with a heavy heart at sundering pleasant 
relations that had existed between us for at least two 
years, and returned to my home in Lancaster. When 
I left, two years before, it was a happy home; when 
I returned it was a very unhappy one. My mother 
had died two months before this, in October, 1832. 
As before related, my father was left with a large 
family of children. I was the eldest, and there were 
five boys and two girls — little children without a moth- 
er. I was unhappy on another account. I was dread- 
fully in love, was too poor to talk about marriage, 
and too young to propose marriage, for I was only 


twenty years of age. My sweetheart was having beans 
from all parts of the State, and I feared that she 
would forget the attachment which had existed be- 
tween ns ever since we were little children at school. 
Another great sonrce of unhappiness to me was the 
fact that my father wonld be disappointed in me. I 
knew very well that he had edncated me with the 
view of my studying law. My mother hoped that I 
would study divinity and go into the Presbyterian 
ministry. My mother never knew the disappoint- 
ment that awaited her, for she died two months before 
I left college. Knowing how great my fathers disap- 
pointment would be, I did not dare to speak to him 
on the subject of studying a profession, and I waited 
for him to speak to me. He was very kind in allow- 
ing me a whole month's vacation, with nothing to do. 
I grew very tired, and kept wishing every day that 
father would say something to me about going to 

At last he said to me one day, "Come, my boy, 
is it not time that you were buckling down to profes- 
sional studies I n I replied, " Yes ; I have been think- 
ing of it for some time.*' I have been asked many 
times why I studied medicine. There was no premo- 
nition of the traits of a doctor in my career as a young- 
ster ; but it was simply in this way : 

At that day and time, the only avenues open to a 
young man of university education were those of the 
learned professions. A graduate of a college had either 


to become a lawyer, go into the church, or to be a 
doctor. I would not be a lawyer; I could not be a 
minister ; and there was nothing left for me to do but 
to be a doctor — to study medicine or to disgrace my 
family ; for it was generally thought that a man who 
had gone through college, and came back and settled 
down as a merchant's clerk, couldn't have had much 
in him if he didn't take to a profession. So there was 
nothing else left for me but to study medicine. One 
day my father said, " I guess you had better go down 
and see Mr. Howard about your beginning your stud- 
ies with him." 

I said : " Father, I know that I have been a great 
disappointment to you. I knew from the outset that 
you wanted me to become a lawyer. It is impossible 
for me to be a lawyer; I have neither the talent 
nor the gifts necessary for the profession. I can not 
enter Mr. Howard's office." He said : " What in the 
world are you going to do, then ? " 

I said : " If I hadn't gone to college I know what 
I should have done. I would have accepted Mr. String- 
fellow's offer of three hundred dollars a year, and gone 
into his store two years ago, and by this time I should 
be getting five hundred dollars a year. But as it 
is, I suppose I must study a profession, so long as I 
have had a university education, and there is nothing 
else left for me but the 6tudy of medicine, if I must 
take a profession." 

He said to me: "My son, I confess that I am dis- 


appointed in you, and if I had known this I certainly 
should not have sent you to college." 

I replied: "I did not want to go; I knew that you 
were not able to send me there, and I knew that you 
would be disappointed, and that I should make you 
unhappy. I am sure that you are no more unhappy 
about it than I am now. But if I must study a pro- 
fession, there is nothing left for me to do but to 
study medicine." 

He replied : "Well, I suppose that I can not control 
you ; but it is a profession for which I have the ut- 
most contempt. There is no science in it. There 
is no honor to be achieved in it ; no reputation to be 
made, and to think that my son should be going around 
from house to house through this country, with a box 
of pills in one hand and a squirt in the other, to 
ameliorate human suffering, is a thought I never sup- 
posed I should have to contemplate." 

However, he told me to go and see Dr. Churchill 
Jones, and make arrangements to study medicine. The 
next morning I felt happily relieved at having been 
enabled to pass through that terrible ordeal with my 
poor disappointed father. I began immediately to read 
medicine with Dr. Jones. Dr. Churchill Jones was a 
man of very great ability. The people in the country 
around had very great respect for and confidence in 
him as a physician. But, unfortunately, he drank. 
That, for a time, seemed to unfit him for the duties 
of his profession. Besides, he had no facilities for 


medical instruction, for he had few or no books ; and 
I read anatomy, read the practice, and all the medi- 
cal books I could get hold of, without any teacher, or 
reading to any profit whatever. I was very glad when 
I was able to leave his office, and go to attend medi- 
cal lectures. But he was a very great surgeon, and 
from him I imbibed a desire to distinguish myself in 
surgery, if I ever should become a doctor. 

In November, I left home for Charleston, where 
I was to attend medical lectures, and to take a course 
in the medical school there. I arrived there on the 
12th of November, 1833. I began the study of medi- 
cine on the — day of February, 1833, with Dr. Jones. 
I remember the date very well, because, I stopped at 
Miott's hotel, and I remember the day of the month 
when I arrived there so accurately, because, when I 
arose the next morning, everybody was talking about 
the falling stars, which exhibition had occurred just 
before day on the 13th of November. I was always 
provoked that I was such a profound sleeper that I 
was not up to see this wonderful display of Nature's 
fire-works. The Charleston Medical School was opened 
a very few days after my arrival. Dr. Samuel Hen- 
ry Dickson was the Professor of Theory and Prac- 
tice of Medicine. I well remember the introductory 
lecture ; it was a brilliant effort, and I never heard 
such eloquence from a teacher's desk. He was a small 
man, very handsome, with a sweet, musical voice ; a 
man of great literary acquirements, a fluent speaker, 


logical in his reasoning, convincing in his argument, 
and most captivating in his manner. But as a practi- 
cal teacher I do not think that I ever learned much 
from him. The purity of his diction, and the elo- 
quence of his discourse, and the beauty of his teaching 
captivated the ear, so that I was carried away entirely 
from the substance of what he attempted to instill in- 
to my mind. Wagner was Professor of Surgery. Hol- 
brook was Professor of Anatomy, and he was a great 
teacher. He had but one equal, I think, as a teacher 
of anatomy, and that was Ballou, of Jefferson Medical 
College. I was diligent in my studies, and I felt that, 
as I had failed in my duty as a student in my col- 
lege course at Columbia, the responsibility of life was 
now doubly on me, and weighed heavily upon my 
shoulders. I felt that I had to prepare for a period 
that I looked forward to not with pleasurable antici- 
pations but with dread. Most of the young men that 
I had associated with all my life, from ten years old 
upward had looked forward to manhood with joy and 
satisfaction ; but with me, it was exactly the reverse. 
I was afraid to be a man; I was afraid to assume its 
responsibilities, and thought that I did not have sense 
enough to go out into the rough world, making a liv- 
ing as other men had to do. I was small in stature, 
and I did not feel that I had intellect enough to grap- 
ple with or to pit myself against such opposition as 
I should encounter in my life. 

I said before, that when I went to Charleston I 


went to work in real earnest. I worked diligently ; I 
attended lectures, earnestly taking notes of what I saw 
and heard. I worked in the dead-house with interest. 
It was fascinating, and besides I derived a practical 
knowledge from it which I could appreciate, and could 
understand, and carry away, and know that I was doing 
something toward laying deeper the foundation for 
knowledge to come. I had the good fortune to meet 
my old friend Dick Baker there as a fellow-student. 
He had been in college with me, and had graduated 
the year before me. He was my senior in college 
by a year. He was a jolly, companionable fellow, and 
one of the best of men; always in good humor, al- 
ways had something funny to say, and was full of wit. 
We worked hard all the week, and usually went on a 
frolic somewhere or somehow on Saturday night, or 
went to the theatre. One Sunday he asked me to go 
sailing with him over to Sullivan's Island. He said 
he had hired a boat and a man to sail it. He said 
that we would sail over there, and walk about the 
beautiful island, and look at the great sea, and pick 
up shells on the shore, and spend a quiet day, and 
come back in the afternoon. I was afraid of the sea 
when I was a young man, but I had never seen it be- 
fore. I was afraid of little boats. However, he said 
there was no danger. We got into the little boat, 
the man raised his sail, and in the course of an hour 
or so we were at Sullivan's Island, a distance of five 
miles. We loitered around for an hour or two, and 


in fact several hours, and talked over old times, our 
prospects in life, and the preparation for its great du- 
ties. By and by it was time to return home, and so 
we got into our boat and started again for the city. 
When within about a mile and a half from the city, 
we looked off to the south and to the left, and I saw 
a little ripple on the sea, and I said, " Oh, see that 
beautiful sea ; how pretty it is, and the water is agi- 
tated over here to our left ! " He said, u Yes, that is 
very pretty." The words had hardly left my mouth 
before a squall struck us, and the boat was soon bot- 
tom side up in the water. I could not swim a stroke, 
and never could, and of course I shall not learn now. 
I was very much alarmed, for there we were, with 
the little vessel on its beam-ends, and we climbing on 
the side of it. Of course, I thought all was lost, and 
I expected the water would rush into the hold, and all 
would be lost, and that the vessel would sink, and 
where should I be ? The vessel seemed to be held 
down by the jib-boom, and still it was under water. 
The sailor took out his knife and cut the cords that 
held this jib-sail, and let it drop into the water, and the 
little vessel righted itself, and we got safely to land. 
This was an adventure that frightened me so much 
that I have never recovered from it to this day. Noth- 
ing would induce me to cross the Hudson JRiver in a 
little boat, either a sail or row boat. I do not mind 
crossing the ocean in a big magnificent steamer, and 
I never felt afraid ; but when you come to a little 


sail-boat or row-boat, I certainly would not risk my 
life in one of them on any account. 

I have always said that my friend Dick Baker 
was full of frolic and fun, and so he got me into a 
dilemma, only two or three days before we left Charles- 
ton for our homes. He came to me one day and 
said, "See here, Marion, there's to be a masquerade 
ball at Fayall's ball-room next Saturday night, and 
I tell you I want you to go with me. I will go as 
a country wagoner just come to town, and you will 
go with me as my daughter." 

I said, " Dick, that won't do, for I am afraid it 
will be discovered. I don't want to put on girl's 
clothes and do that." 

" Oh, well, " he said, " but it is a masquerade, and 
you have a right to do as you please, so long as it's 
a masquerade, and while they all have on masks. I 
will play my whip and flourish it around, and play 
that I'm a country wagoner." 

" But what shall I do about the clothes ? " I asked. 

" Oh, that is easy enough," he replied ; " you never 
mind about that, for I have cousins here in the city, 
and I can get the clothes from them. You will go as 
a country lassie, and you will make a capital one, too." 

After some further conversation, I agreed to go, 
and the time for the start was also fixed upon. So 
he went to see his cousins, and got some dresses, and 
a set of ear-rings, which were tied on to my ears with 
strings, and I was dressed up in the most outlandish 


and fantastic way that you can imagine. I wore a 
turban to hide my short hair, and the ear-rings dan- 
gled nearly down to my shoulders. I was dressed in a 
fashion altogether peculiar and unlike anything of the 
kind 1 had ever seen before. When the hour for the 
ball came, we marched down to Fayall's. There had 
been a very hard and severe rain that afternoon, and 
Mr. Fayall, thinking that the rain was to continue un- 
til into the night, had put up a notice on the door 
saying that the masquerade ball was postponed indefi- 
nitely on account of the rain. Dick was despondent; 
but I said I was glad of it, and that I was out of the 
scrape ; and besides, I had had enough of this sort of 
sport. We accordingly started for my boarding-house. 
As we walked along Queen Street, Dick brightened up, 
and he said : " By George ! I have an idea. Let's go 
to the theatre. That is the thing. We will certainly 
have this frolic out, for there is no telling if we will 
ever have another chance. Nobody will know but 
that you are a country girl, and I am big enough and 
ugly enough to pass for a country farmer." 

In an unlucky moment I said, " Well, we will go." 
Dick bought the tickets, and we started up into the 
gallery. I said : 

" Dick, I must insist that we sit on the back seat, 
for I am dressed in such an outlandish and awkward 
way that we might be discovered, and it would sound 
rather bad to be carried before the police in the morn- 
ing, and have it known that two young medical stu- 


dents were arrested, and one of them in woman's 
clothes at that." 

He said, " You shall sit just wdiere you please." 
So we went up- stairs. To my horror, the house was 
brilliantly illuminated. At least, I thought that I had 
-never seen anything like it. When we were about 
to enter the compartment that we had been directed 
to by the usher, I wanted to sit on the back seat. 
But the Southern people are exceedingly courteous, 
especially to the ladies, and so they insisted on our 
taking a front seat whether we wanted to or not. 
They differ from us here at the North in that respect. 
Two young gentlemen on the front seat arose and 
said to Dick : " Here, sir, is a seat for yourself and your 
lady." There was nothing for us to do but to com- 
ply, and so to the front seat we went, they having 
made room for us two. Both took me by the arm, 
and one said, " Miss, will you have a front seat ? " and 
the other said, " Miss, have this front seat ? " I blushed 
and said, "I thank you, I can't sit on the front 
seat ; " I insisted on sitting on the back seat, and every- 
body insisted that I should sit on the front seat, and 
that with so much of earnestness that it was impos- 
sible to do anything else but comply. So I took my 
seat in the gallery, and in an instant every opera- 
glass in that theatre was leveled at me, and not on 
the play, until I was nearly crazed. My condition 
was not pleasant, and I was very unhappy, and I said, 
"Dick, for God's sake, take me out of here." He 


thought it was the greatest joke that he had ever 
seen or heard of in this world. I shall never for- 
get that play — it was " The Lady of Lyons " ; nor shall 
I ever forget how the beautiful women of Charleston 
stared at the strange bird sitting in the balcony with 
the countryman, Dick Baker. 

After we had been there about half an hour, Abram 
Mc Willie, who was a class-mate of ours in Columbia 
College, and whom we hadn't seen since we left there, 
entered, and took a seat by me. He looked over and 
saw Dick Baker, and they had a hearty shaking of 
hands. Baker asked him many questions, and talked 
about old times, and I sat there looking dignified, 
though he was one of my warmest and best of friends. 
Now, in another character he did not know me, and 
so he did not speak to me, nor I to him. Dick en- 
joyed the joke as long as he could possibly do it, 
and then he said: 

" Abe, old fellow, I want to introduce you to your 
old friend, Marion Sims." 

Abe raised both hands, and he said, " My God ! " 
and then he became very confidential, and I said : 

" Abe, it isn't proper, when you are introduced to 
a young lady, to become so intimate on short acquaint- 
ance and all at once. You are entirely too confiden- 
tial. Just look at all these opera-glasses leveled on 
us. Now, if you felt as unhappy as I do, you would 
be making tracks out of this place very soon." 

Suffice it to say that these two old friends of mine 


kept me there in durance vile till the theatre was 
dismissed and the curtain fell. I was not happy un- 
til I got safely home to my quarters, for every min- 
ute I expected that I should be taken up by the po- 
lice, and carried before the court the next day for 
appearing in public in women's clothes. I have never 
seen Dick Baker from that day to this. He studied 
medicine, graduated with honor, returned to his na- 
tive place in Sumter, South Carolina, got- married, was 
very successful as a physician, and filled an important 
station in life. He lived to a ripe old age, and spent 
a useful and profitable life. 


Attending lectures — I start for Philadelphia and enter Jefferson Medical 
College — Small-pox among the students — Professor McClellan — Pro- 
fessor Patterson — I graduate. 

The day after I arrived in Charleston I started 
out in search of a boarding-house. I was directed to 
Mrs. Murden's, in Society Street, where I had a com- 
fortable room and excellent board at a reasonable price, 
and a happy home during my winter's sojourn in 
Charleston. Mrs. Murden was a poetess, and an enthu- 
siast about everything that she undertook. She had 
four beautiful daughters — Malvena, Octavia, Yaleria, 
and Rosaline — all of them highly educated and very 
accomplished young ladies. They had a school, and 
were patronized by the aristocrats of the city. The 
school is in existence even to this day, and one of the 
young ladies is still devoting her life to the work of 
teaching her young countrywomen. She alone is left 
of all the family. Mrs. Murden was a very peculiar 
woman. If she had lived in this day and time, how she 
would have enjoyed life. I remember well with what 
eagerness she always looked for the morning papers. 


The first thing she looked for was the column of deaths, 
which she gloated over and discussed thoroughly. Then 
she looked for the horrors, like shipwrecks and murders, 
and accidents of all kinds by sea and land, and all the 
other terrible things of which life is made up and in 
danger of. The list seemed to give her food for con- 
templation, and she really enjoyed the horrors that oc- 
curred around her every day. In this day and time, 
when we have all the horrors and horrible things 
occurring in every section of the great globe brought to 
the very doors of everybody, and all centered in one 
small column, it would have been food for Mrs. Mur- 
den for a whole week. I was very happy in the Mur- 
den family. I worked hard, and if I ever had a spare 
hour it was given to a game of chess with one of the 
young ladies. 

During this term of lectures at Charleston Medical 
College, I made the acquaintance of Ben Eobinson, of 
Fayetteville, North Carolina, and we became very inti- 
mate. We agreed then that we would go to Philadel- 
phia for our next course of lectures, and we were to 
meet the next October at Jefferson Medical College, and 
there work for graduation. About the last of February 
the lecture term at Charleston was concluded, and I re- 
turned again to my home in Lancaster, where I resumed 
my studies with my old friend and preceptor Dr. 
Churchill Jones. I got through the summer as well as 
I could, but it was impossible for me to learn any- 
thing, except when he took me out to see some surgi- 


cal operation, and then I felt that I had carried away 
with me something that would be of profit to me in 

One night I was dissecting alone in the dissecting- 
room, where there were ten or twelve dead bodies on 
as many tables. I had found an anomalous distribution 
of the tracheal artery, and was anxious to trace it out. 
I had but a single candle. There was no other light in 
the room. I told Robert, the supervisor of the dissect- 
ing-room, not to wait for me. I happened to knock the 
candle over, and I was in the dark and had no matches. 
So I was obliged to desist from my work. I am not 
afraid of anything, but I must confess that I did not 
feel very comfortable as I threaded my way out in 
search of the door of exit. 

And this reminds me of a similar experience of my 
friend "Williams Sims Reynolds, of Charleston, when he 
was a medical student there in 1832. He was alone, at 
ten o'clock at night, dissecting the parts concerned in 
an inguinal hernia. 

A dissecting- table is about six feet long, and twenty 
inches wide, and thirty inches high. 

To dissect the muscles of the abdomen, we place a 
billet of wood eighteen or twenty inches long and ten 
inches in diameter under the loins. This renders the 
muscles of the abdomen tense and prominent. This is 
increased by drawing the subject down toward the lower 
end of the table, so as to let the legs and thighs gravitate 
toward the floor, while the body is held firmly in place 


by a chain a yard long with a hook at each end. One 
hook is hitched into the scalp of the subject, and the 
other is hooked over the upper end of the table. If the 
hook should break loose the body would, by the weight 
of the legs, shoot over the lower end of the table. Rey- 
nolds's only candle was necessarily resting on the epigas- 
tric region of the subject. He had been at work all the 
evening on the right inguinal ring. He started to pass 
round the lower end of the table for some purpose, when 
he ran against the subject's projecting legs. This jostled 
the body so as to knock loose the chain at the upper end 
of the table, whereupon the body, having the roller billet 
of wood under the back, was, by the weight of the 
lower limbs, suddenly jerked to the floor in the upright 
posture, and its arms were forcibly thrown over Rey- 
nolds's shoulders. The light was of course put out. I 
think I should have left that body to the force of grav- 
ity. But Reynolds took it under the arms and replaced 
it on the table. 

The last of September (1834) I started for Philadel- 
phia. It took a whole week to go from Lancaster to 
Philadelphia. We had to stage it the whole of the way, 
over the mountains of Virginia. Arriving in Philadel- 
phia, I soon met a number of young gentlemen from the 
South, students there, and they were all very clannish. 
They readily got acquainted, and stuck to each other. 
The first boarding-house I got into was just opposite the 
Jefferson Medical College. I paid $4 a week, which was 
very cheap ; but, really, the living was excessively poor, 


and I came very near starving. After a while, I got 
acquainted with a young fellow named Krenshaw, from 
Wake Forest, North Carolina. He was a very eccentric 
fellow, as green as cheese, and as good as gold. He was a 
great Baptist, and made many friends among that denom- 
ination and in that church, among them a young medical 
student, named Roberts, who lived near Sixth Street ; 
and whose mother, who had married a second time, was 
the wife of Dr. Lewis Roberts, got acquainted with Kren- 
shaw through the Baptist church. Then Roberts told 
him of a Miss Edmunds's school for young girls, in San- 
som Street, just opposite the church. He said that she 
had some vacancies, and would take a few medical stu- 
dents as boarders. Krenshaw went to Miss Edmunds's, 
was delighted with the place, and, when he found out 
that I was starving in a little house just opposite the 
college, he kindly offered to introduce me to Miss Ed- 
munds, which he did, and I engaged board there with 
her. I was very glad, indeed, to make the change, and 
Miss Edmunds was enabled to give me a very good 
room, and one for my friend, Mr. Rush Jones, of Lan- 
caster, who was soon to be there. As far as our board- 
ing-house was concerned, I was perfectly happy. There 
was plenty to eat, we had a good room to sleep in, and 
everything bright and cheerful. At breakfast and din- 
ner-time there were three or four pretty girls to talk to, 
and I do not think that a set of young men ever at- 
tended lectures at Jefferson Medical College, that win- 
ter at least, who were more fortunately situated than 


we were. Miss Edmunds was an old lady, a good deal 
the other side of fifty, and had taught school all the days 
of her life. She was a charming woman, and a good 
mother to all of us. She was devoted to her pastor, the 
Rev. Dr. Gillette, father of the present distinguished 
Dr. Gillette of New York. Dr. Gillette was the pastor 
of the Circular Church, which is now a livery stable, in 
Sansom Street. Miss Edmunds used to marshal us all 
to church there every Sunday morning. 

During my stay in Philadelphia a most unfortunate 
thing occurred, resulting in the death of some of the 
students. A subject who had been brought into the 
dissecting-room had died of small-pox, and I do not 
know how many of the students contracted small-pox 
from it. Two or three of them died; among them 
a handsome young fellow from Alabama by the name 
of Lucas. I got acquainted with Lucas soon after lect- 
ures began. We became good friends, and he knew 
many persons that I knew in his section, and he had 
family connections in South Carolina- When Lucas was 
taken sick we missed him at lectures, and I immediately 
went to his boarding-house to inquire what was the 
matter with him. I found him very ill, and I went 
there to nurse him at night. I sat up with him, night 
after night, not having the remotest idea of what was 
the matter with him. He was very ill, and one night 
I sent for Professor Patterson, who was attending him, 
to come and see him. When Professor Patterson came, 
he examined the patient carefully, and prescribed for 


hiin, and I said : " Dr. Patterson, what is the matter 
with my young friend Lucas ? " 

Dr. Patterson replied : " Why, he has the small-pox, 
and he is going to die to-night. I thought you were ac- 
quainted with what was the matter with him." 

" My God, small-pox ! " I said. " I have never been 
vaccinated ; I do not remember to have ever been vac- 
cinated in all my life ! " So I hurried around to Dr. 
George McClellan to be vaccinated. I was very much 
alarmed at having been in a room with a small-pox 
patient. I found him at home, and told him what had 
happened. He asked me if I had never been vaccinated, 
and I said I had not been. 

" Well, then," he said, " pull off your coat and roll 
up your sleeves." He was about to scratch my arm with 
his lancet, when he said, " You have as fine a mark on 
your arm as there is on any fellow's arm in the whole 

I said, " I have been vaccinated, surely," and there, 
sure enough, was the mark. " Come to think of it, now 
I remember all about it. I remember a little epidemic 
of small-pox in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1831, three 
years ago. At that time I met Mr. Gladney, one of the 
honor-men of his class (1831) on the college campus, and 
he said to me, 'Do you know there is small-pox in 
town ? ' I said I did not. He asked me if I had been 
vaccinated, and I said that I had not. So I went into 
his room and he had a fresh pustule, and he said, * It is 
just right for the work, and I know just how to do it.' 


He scratched my arm, and put in some virus. It went 
through the several stages to maturation ; but it made so 
little impression on me that I had forgotten all about it, 
from the time it was done until now, and I did not re- 
member that it had ever been done. But for that, of 
course, I should have been in very great danger from 
having attended my friend Lucas so long." My friend 
Lucas died that night, his death creating a great com- 
motion among the students ; but none of them left. 
Every man stuck to his post, and attended to his duties. 
I had always passed for more than I was worth. My 
young friends commonly thought I had more talent than 
I possessed, and gave me credit for more than I de- 
served. At Charleston, when the class was about to 
break up and separate, the students held a meeting, at 
which I was not present, and knew nothing of. They 
appointed a committee to select a class valedictorian. I 
do not think that I ever was so surprised in my life as I 
was when that committee called on me and said they 
wanted to have me deliver that valedictory address. I 
declined, of course. So when young Lucas died, and 
there were two or three other young men who also died 
of small-pox from the college, in January, 1835, the stu- 
dents held a meeting and appointed a committee to select 
a eulogist in commemoration of the young men who had 
died. Again, to my surprise, the surprise of my life, of 
the three or four hundred young gentlemen students 
there, the committee waited on me and requested me to 
perform that office. In both these instances, feeling my 



incompetency for such a thing, I had the good sense and 
courage to decline the proffered honor. 

Miss Edmunds was always fond of telling anecdotes, 
and I liked to hear her tell them. I always managed to 
have her tell them when I had invited any of my young 
friends to come there to take tea with me. One I espe- 
cially liked to hear her tell, and it was this : She said that 
when her mother was about seventy years of age they 
lived in North Sixth Street. Her mother and her aunt 
were often in the habit, Sunday evenings, of going 
around and visiting her brother, who lived in Second 
Street, four blocks away, and not far north of Walnut 
Street. One evening, about ten o'clock, these two old 
ladies, Mrs. Edmunds and her sister, expected a nephew 
to come and walk home with them. The young man did 
not come, and the servants having retired, there was no 
one to accompany them home. At last they said, 
" We should know that we can go by ourselves, for 
our age will protect us." So the two old ladies started 
out by themselves. They were two very delicate, dried- 
up specimens of women, and in the darkness they looked 
like girls more than they did like grown women. The 
houses in that part of the city were quite far apart, 
and it was not to be wondered at that they were some- 
what afraid to go out at night all alone. Besides, the 
neighborhood was infested by sailors and roughs. They 
hadn't gone twenty steps from their brother's house 
before they were accosted by two sailors. It was before 
the days of gas, and the streets were lighted by misera- 


ble lamps, which never threw a particle of light across 
the street. When they were accosted by these two sail- 
ors, the fellows began to make violent love to them. 
They both cried out, for they were sorely frightened, 
" We are not young women ; we are both old women." 
But the sailors replied, by way of jest : " Yes, we under- 
stand that : we have heard the same kind of talk before. 
We know old women from young women at any time." 
So each one grasped a woman, and one of them took his 
under his arm and running with his trophy across the 
street, held her face up to the dim lamp-light. Seeing 
his mistake, he shouted out to his companion, " Patrick, 
you may drop yours, surely, because the one I have is as 
old and as ugly as the very divil ! " Thus they escaped 
from their captors and, frightened almost to death, hur- 
ried on their way home. 

In Jefferson Medical College, and a great gun, was the 
famous McClellan. He was a great surgeon, and he was 
a man as well. He was very eccentric and erratic as a 
teacher. His delivery was very spasmodic, but he talked 
sense all the time. JSTot that he had much system, but 
whatever he said was to the point ; it was practical — it 
was teaching — it was a thing that one could carry home 
and remember always. At the time I was a student in 
Jefferson College, the distinguished General George B. 
McClellan was a little boy, four or five years old. I 
have often reminded him of the time, which he could 
not remember. I used to pat him on the head, and give 
him six-pences to buy ginger-bread and taffy with. 


Professor McClellan frequently honored me by an 
invitation to assist him in surgical operations, and I re- 
member one very remarkable case on which he operated. 
It created a great sensation at the time. It was a case in 
which he exsected a portion of a necrosed rib, without 
injury to the pleural cavity He talked to the patient all 
the time of his operation, for it was before the days of 
ansesthetics, and when it required great nerve to be a 
good surgeon. He would gouge and chisel and work 
away, and say to the man, " Courage, my brave fellow, 
courage ; we wound but to heal. It will soon be over." 
Then he would work away again, and again he would 
cheer up the patient, by saying, " Courage, my good fel- 
low ; be brave, for we wound but to heal ; it will soon be 
over. Courage, my dear fellow ; it will soon be over." 

He was a great teacher, a great surgeon, and a great 
man ; and he was the founder of Jefferson Medical Col- 
lege. He died comparatively young, and left a reputa- 
tion that is imperishable. 

In 1847 McClellan left home one bright May morn- 
ing to make his daily rounds. He walked erect along 
Chestnut Street, seemingly full of health and vigor, 
going from house to house to see his patients, while his 
coachman drove leisurely along, waiting wherever his 
master entered. Soon he was seen slowly descending 
the steps of a marble mansion bent over with agonizing 
pain. He entered his carriage and was driven rapidly 
home. His medical advisers were summoned. In a few 
hours he was in collapse, and in sixteen he was dead. 


He died of perforation of the bowel just below the 
sigmoid flexure. The cause of death was septicaemia 
and shock. And thus passed away one of the great sur- 
geons of the age. 

Professor Patterson was the best lecturer on anatomy 
then living. The next best to him was Hurlburt, of the 
Charleston College. It made no odds what the sub- 
ject was, the student was always chained to it as 
long as he chose to speak. We never tired of his en- 
thusiasm or his eloquence. He had one yery bad habit, 
a dreadful peculiarity and a disagreeable one, especially 
for those who occupied the front seats. When he be- 
came very enthusiastic, and went to the highest pitch 
of his eloquence, he would forget himself and all around 
him, and would splutter and slobber and spit, the saliva 
flying in every direction, so that those who sat within a 
yard of him would be spattered all over. Of course the 
young gentlemen were too polite to say anything, and 
they would wipe off the drops from their faces when he 
was so earnestly teaching them and so eloquently dis- 
coursing to them. Every man in whose face he would 
happen to splutter his saliva would watch, before he 
passed the amphitheatre, before raising his handkerchief 
to wipe it off. 

Patterson was very kind to the students, and always 
managed to help them out of their scrapes. He lent 
them money, and patronized them in every way that 
he could. He was a father to the students, and sympa- 
thized with them in all their efforts. 


I graduated from the Jefferson Medical College, in 
Philadelphia, on the first day of March, 1835. I studied 
very hard all winter, and even found time for the dis- 
section of a few subjects. Few students found time 
for dissection during the graduating course, but I did 
and heard the graduating course of lectures besides. 
When I graduated, I felt absolutely incompetent to as- 
sume the duties of a practitioner. Professor Patterson 
had advertised a private course of lectures for a month, 
and I, with thirty or forty others, young men like my- 
self, who felt that they didn't know much, concluded to 
take the private course. He delivered a course on 
"Kegional Anatomy and Surgical Anatomy." When I 
graduated I presume I could have gone into the dissect- 
ing-room and cut down upon any artery, and put a liga- 
ture around it, but I knew nothing at all about the 
practice of medicine. 


I begin the practice of medicine — My first patient — My second — I leave Lan- 
caster and go to Mount Meigs — My first success. 

I returned to my home in South Carolina about the 
middle of May, 1835. I went home with everything 
prepared to begin the practice of medicine. I had had 
no clinical advantages, no hospital experience, and had 
seen nothing at all of sickness. I had been able to buy 
a full set of instruments for surgical operations, and I 
laid in a full stock of medicines in Philadelphia. My 
father rented me an office on Main Street. I had a sign 
painted on tin, that would reach one third of the way 
across the end of my office. It was certainly two feet 
long, and, like all young doctors just starting, I wanted 
to let people know where I could be found. I attended 
my office, and was ready for consultation and for pa- 
tients. One morning, at the end of two or three weeks, 
as I was sitting in my office quietly, surrounded by my 
library, which consisted of seven books, octavo volumes, 
safely locked up in one of the little drawers in my 
bureau, Mr. Mayer, an important personage in the town, 
came whistling along. Mayer had been its mayor; he 


had been my tailor from the time I was a little boy. He 
had made coats for me before I was permitted to wear 
tails to them. 

He said, " Good morning, Marion " (for nobody 
called me doctor). I had lived there all my life, knew 
everybody in the town, and everybody called me Marion. 
" Have you had any patients yet ? " 

I said, "No, Andy, I haven't had a patient yet." 

" "Well," he said, " I wish you would go up to my 
house and see my baby. It is very sick, and has been 
sick for some time. I wish you would go up pretty 

I said, " Yery well, I will go up immediately." He 
passed on to his shop, and I walked up to his house. 
I thought to myself that this was a good beginning, 
really. Here is the most important personage in the 
town who is my first patient, and if Andy Mayer patron- 
izes me my successs will certainly be assured. When I 
arrived I found a child about eighteen months old, very 
much emaciated, who had what we would call the sum- 
mer complaint, or chronic diarrhoea. I examined the 
child minutely from head to foot. I looked at its gums, 
and, as I always carried a lancet with me and had surgi- 
cal propensities, as soon as I saw some swelling of the 
gums I at once took out my lancet and cut the gums 
down to the teeth. This was good so far as it went. 
But, when it came to making up a prescription, I had 
no more idea of what ailed the child, or what to do for 
it, than if I had never studied medicine. I was at a 


perfect loss what to do, but I did not betray my igno- 
rance to the mother. I blandly said : 

" Mrs. Mayer, if you will have the kindness to send 
Jennie down to my office in the course of an hour from 
this time, I will have medicine ready for the baby, and 
write out the directions how to give it." 

I hurried back to my office, and took out one of my 
seven volumes of Eberle, which comprised my library, 
and found his treatise on the " Diseases of Children." I 
hastily took it down, turned quickly to the subject of 
" Cholera Infantum," and read it through, over and over 
again, to the end most carefully. I knew no more what 
to prescribe for the sick babe than if I hadn't read it all. 
But it was my only resource. I had nobody else to con- 
sult but Eberle. By the by, he had a peculiar way of 
filling his books with prescriptions, which was a very 
good thing for a young doctor. He was a good writer, 
and a very practical man, and would be considered good 
authority even at this time. The most natural thing in 
the world for me to do was to begin. At the beginning 
of his article of twenty or thirty pages there was a pre- 
scription, but I do not remember whether it was a pow- 
der or a mixture. There was chalk in it. So I com- 
pounded it as quickly as I knew how, and had every- 
thing in readiness for the arrival of Jennie. She took it 
back to the house, and the mother began to give it 
according to the directions, which were written out. I 
was very impatient for the time to come when I should 
make my visit, and see the effects of the medicine and 


the Eberle prescription. I was there punctually on 
time. I was very much surprised to find the baby very 
much as in the morning ; no better and no worse. I saw 
that as the medicine had done no good it was necessary 
to change it. And so I requested Mrs. Mayer to send 
Jennie down to my office again at a given time for a 
new prescription for the baby. I turned to Eberle again, 
and to a new leaf. I gave the baby a prescription from 
the next chapter. Suffice it to say, that I changed leaves 
and prescriptions as often as once or twice a day. The 
baby continued to grow weaker and weaker. " Is it pos- 
sible," I thought, " that this child can die ? Did any 
young doctor ever lose the first patient he ever had, and 
just as he was starting out ? Providence could not be so 
cruel as to allow me to lose my first patient, in a little 
town like this, with everybody talking about it, and es- 
pecially the child of so important a personage as Mr. 
Mayer." I felt very unhappy about it. 

Meantime, an old nurse was asked to come and take 
care of the child. It is well understood that there is a 
curious antagonism between old nurses and young doc- 
tors. They have an idea that young doctors don't know 
a great deal, and the old nurses are not very far from 
right. This old nurse seemed to scrutinize me, and very 
particularly watched everything I said and did. Noth- 
ing escaped her, and I felt very uncomfortable in her 
presence. I wished that she had never come there. 
However, one night I was sitting by the baby, in an anx- 
ious mood of mind, and wondering what was to turn up 


next. I was feeling its pulse, and watching it carefully. 
The old nurse sat on the opposite side of the bed, when 
she said, " Doctor, don't you think that this baby is going 
to die ? " I said, " !N~o, madam, I do not think so, not at 
all." Externally, I was very calm and self-possessed ; but 
internally I was not, for I really did not know what that 
child would do. Presently the child stopped breathing, 
and I thought it a case of syncope. I never dreamed that 
it could die. So I jerked the baby from - the bed, and 
held its head down, and shook it, and blew into its 
mouth, and tried to bring it to. I shook it again, when 
the old nurse laid her hand on my shoulder gently, and 
said : " JSTo use shakin' that baby any more, doctor, for that 
baby's dead ! " Well, I laid the baby back in the bed, 
and my feelings can well be imagined at the idea that I 
had lost my first patient. I attended the funeral ; I was 
the chief mourner of all. Certainly its father and mother 
did not feel so badly over the loss of their child as I did 
at the loss of my first patient. I was very melancholy 
and sad, for I thought that everybody in town would 
know that I had lost my first case, and Mayer's baby at 
that, and everybody was sorry for him and for me. 

About two weeks had rolled around, and the depres- 
sion which I had felt had somewhat subsided, when Mr. 
Elias Kennedy came to my office one morning. Mr. 
Kennedy was foreman for Mr. Mayer, and I had known 
him all my life. He came in in somewhat of a hurry, 
and said : 

" Marion, my baby is real sick, and I wish you would 


go up to my house and see it I nope yon will have bet- 
ter hick with it than yon did with Andys baby." 

I said, ^Elias, if I don't, m qnit the town." I went 
np to see Mr. Kennedy's baby, and, as bad luck would 

Mayer's baby, the same prostrating condition of thit. 
and the same disease. I was nonplused. I had no 
authority to consult but Eberle; so I took np Eberle 
again, and this time I read him backward. I though: Z 

would reverse the treatment I had instituted with Mav- 


er s baby. So, instead of beginning at the first of the 
chapter, I began at the last of the chapter, and turned 
backward, and turned the leaves the same way, and re- 
~::*7i '.'-- :>:t- :■:::::: in. 7"_t ": i":t i*:: n: :;r"r::r:^:::e 
very first. I did not have any consultation in the first 
case, for there was no doctor in town to counsel with ; 
for my old preceptor, Dr. Jones, had gone to Tennessee 
on a visit to his sister, and he was the only doctor in the 
town besides myself. He returned while I was in attend- 
ance npon Mr. Kennedy's baby. As soon as he came 
home I went to see him. I said: u Dr. Church," (eve:~ 
body called him Dr. Church) u I lost Andy Zi y& '■ baby 
since yon have been away. If you had been here he 
would have lived. But he is dead ; and now Eias Ken- 
nedy's is sick and I want you to go and see it and sai 

u I will go," he said, u with pleasure, Marion." 
" But I want yon to go at once," I said ; " there is 
no time to wait." 


So the dear, good old doctor went up with me to 
Elias's very cheerfully, and went into the room. He 
was clear-headed and looked at the patient carefully, and, 
at the first glimpse, he knew all about it. ]STo ques- 
tions were necessary, and immediately afterward he was 
satisfied. He proposed that we would have a consulta- 
tion, and so we went out for that purpose. It was 
pretty hot in the house, and so we went out on the 
shady side, in the corner of the chimney.- The ffrst 
thing he said to me, when we got there, was : " Well, 
Marion, that baby is going to die." 

I said, " The devil, you say ; you don't say that this 
baby is going to die? " 

He said that it could not recover. 

"Then," I said, "if this baby dies, doctor, I shall 
never be your successor in this town, for I shall leave." 

He replied, " Marion, that baby is going to die ; it 
will die to-night." And it did die, and it died that 
night. Again I had to be chief mourner at the funeral 
of another little lost citizen of Lancaster. I went home 
sadder than ever. I just took the long tin sign -board 
from my office door. There was an old well back of 
the house, covered over with boards. I went to the 
well, took that sign with me, dropped it in there, and 
covered the old well over again. I was no longer a 
doctor in the town of Lancaster. 

I was then so demoralized, and so disgusted with my 
beginning in the profession, that if I had had money 
enough, or any money at all, even the small sum of 


five thousand dollars, I would not have given another 
dose of medicine. But there was no other alternative 
for me. Being obliged to continue in the profession 
that I had started in, I was determined to make up my 
deficiency by hard work ; and this was not to come from 
reading books, but from observation and from diligent 
attention to the sick. 

I then made up my mind to leave my country for 
m^ country's good, and establish a home in the far West. 
I had had the misfortune to lose my first two patients, 
and the thought of it was too terrible to be borne. I had 
never heard of such terrible luck, and never thought 
that such misfortune could ever happen to any young 
man in the world. However, I had one other patient 
in Lancaster, and he was the rich man of the town, old 
Captain McKenna, who owned half of the village and 
one hundred slaves. He would get on sprees occasion- 
ally, lasting two or three weeks, and they always wound 
up with delirium tremens. He was on one of his regu- 
lar old " blow-outs." and, to my great surprise, he sent 
for me. I attended him very carefully for two days 
and nights, and got him over his frolic. He was de- 
lighted, and gave me a ten-dollar bill. That was the first 
money I ever made in the practice of medicine, and the 
only money I ever got in Lancaster. The patients that 
ought to have lived died, and the one that ought to 
have died got well. 

On the 13th of October (1835) my father and I start- 
ed for Alabama. The " thirteenth," by the way, has 


always been a lucky day with me, and so has Friday. 
I was born on Friday. Some years ago, when I was one 
of the surgeons in the Woman's Hospital, we met, four 
of us, to select operating days, each having a separate 
day, and I said at once : " Gentlemen, I will relieve your 
rminds, so far as I am concerned, and in regard to the 
day, by selecting Friday as my own, and you can divide 
the other days among yourselves to suit your ideas." 
My father had furnished me with a fine horse and a 
little Yankee carry-all, and in this my medicines, in- 
struments, and the same old library of seven volumes, 
were safely stowed away in the back of the wagon. 
My destination was Marengo County, Alabama. I had 
heard glowing accounts of the country and its rich- 
ness, and of the opportunities afforded to young men 
who located there ; especially if they had energy and 
enterprise. It took us about three weeks to go from 
Lancaster to Mount Meigs, Montgomery County, Ala- 
bama. When we arrived at Mount Meigs we made a 
halt of a few days, for we had many friends living there 
who had removed from South Carolina at a previous 
date. All of them began to persuade me to remain 
there at Mount Meigs, where there were people that 
knew me when I was a boy. I was not disposed to do 
so ; but my father said, " Why should you go farther ? 
You had better stop where people here know you, and 
have an interest in you, than to go to Marengo, where 
no one will have any personal interest in you." Eather 
against my will, however, for I didn't like to give up 


the idea that I had started out with, I consented to stop 
at Mount Meigs. 

There were two doctors there. Dr. Charles Lucas 
was a man about fifty years of age, a splendid man, who 
had a great reputation as a doctor. He was a great 
politician, a great talker, a great planter, was very rich ; 
owned two or three hundred slaves, made large quanti- 
ties of cotton, and was a man who exerted a vast influ- 
ence in the country. He was an old bachelor and kept 
" open house " and good cheer for everybody that called. 
The other was Dr. Childers. He was a very much older 
man, and he was a character. He had an enormous 
reputation as a doctor. He bled and purged, and gave 
medicine from the time he was called to the patient 
until the patient was called away. If the patient sur- 
vived Dr. Childers and the disease together, he had a 
lease of life that would carry him up to old age. Dr. 
Childers never lived more than two years in any one 
place. He had practiced in every little town and village 
all through Georgia, from Augusta to Columbia; was 
quoted as authority in medicine all over the States of 
Georgia and Alabama, though I do not know that he 
had ever written anything. Still he was a very wonder- 
ful man, and he always left an impression with every- 
body that he knew a good deal more that he really did. 
I must say that in medicine he was learned. He was a 
very peculiar looking man. He was small, rather stoop- 
shouldered, always walked with his hands as if he was 
tired, holding one hand on each lapel of his coat, his 

DR. CH1LDERS. 149 

Lead stooped over to one side — he seemed to be pulled 
over in that direction by an enormous nose. He had a 
pleasant voice, and seldom raised it above a whisper, 
and he always spoke, in the main, in a sort of confi- 
dential way to everybody and on any subject. He was 
never in a hurry, was always prompt in his attention 
to the duties of his profession, and was one of the kind- 
est of men. He believed in the lancet, and it was rarely 
that he didn't bleed his patient : it made no difference 
what the disease was. 

I well remember his inviting me to go out into the 
country once, a distance of three or four miles, to see a 
patient, a Miss Ashurst. She was a very beautiful 
woman in the last stages of consumption. She had the 
usual afternoon hectic flushes of this ruthless disease. 
She was nothing but a skeleton, and certainly had but 
a few days to live. But Dr. Childers's theory was 
that the lancet was necessary wherever the patient had 
the least appearance of fever. In our afternoon visit 
to this beautiful, dying, angelic women, he found her 
in the usual exacerbation of hectic. The skin was 
hot and dry, and the pulse about one hundred and twen- 
ty a minute. TVhat was my surprise when Dr. Child- 
ers said, " Miss Ashurst, I believe, as you have a good 
deal of fever, I will have to draw a little blood from 
you." This was said in the sweetest, mildest, most gen- 
tlemanly tones possible. So he took from his pocket a 
cord, and drew it over the little skeleton arm above the 
elbow. Presently the blood came trickling down from 


the elbow, and, when a tablespoonful had run, the poor 
little woman fainted and fell over. "Ah," said he, 
" that is just what I wanted. Xow she will be better " ; 
and she was better, but it was the "better'' that comes 
with death. The practice at that time was heroic ; it 
was murderous. I knew nothing about medicine, but I 
had sense enough to see that doctors were killing their 
patients ; that medicine was not an exact science ; that 
it was wholly empirical, and that it would be better to 
trust entirely to Mature than to the hazardous skill of 
the doctors. 

Dr. Guilders had then been about eighteen months in 
Mount Meigs, and it was about time that he was prepar- 
ing to leave there. He was very glad of the opportun- 
ity to welcome me to Mount Meigs, provided that I 
would buv him out. I had no monev with which to 
do this ; and yet it was something to have his influence ; 
indeed, it was a good deal. However, he agreed to take 
my note for two hundred dollars, give me his books and 
medicines, and recommend me to his patients generally 
in the country. Two hundred dollars at that time was 
about equal to one thousand dollars now. Of course 
the bargain was a very good one for me and not a very 
bad one for him ; for he was going away anyhow. So 
I was soon regularly installed at Mount Meigs as a prac- 
ticing physician. This was about the middle of Novem- 
ber, 1S35. The first patient that I had there came in 
this way : 

Dr. Lucas, I said, was a great politician. He was a 


bank director, and, as a bank director be wielded a great 
power in tbe country. He bad become a bank director 
of tbe State of Alabama, and it was necessary for bim to 
go to tbe Legislature, wbicb tben met at Tuscaloosa, in 
tbe western part of the State, and two or tbree weeks 
were required for tbe electioneering necessary for tbis 
direct orsbip. ... I tbink be was gone more than a 
month, and I am quite sure that he was away five or six 
weeks before be could be certain of his election. Mr. 
Evans arrived one morning, about eleven o'clock, from 
the neighborhood of Union Springs, Macon County. He 
said that he had come for Dr. Lucas, but, as he was 
away, he would be glad if I would go with him to see 
Mrs. FitzGreene, who was very ill with puerperal fever. 
She was the daughter of Mr. Benjamin Baldwin. They 
were people of fortune and favor, and, of course, a call 
to such a family was a very important one. But I said, 
" No, I can not go with you ; you want an older man 
than I am, and a man with experience. I haven't tbe 
knowledge that will satisfy the case, and I think that 
you had better go to Montgomery and get some of the 
swell doctors there to attend to the case." 

He said " No ; " that everybody spoke well of me in 
Mount Meigs, and recommended me highly, and he 
would not be satisfied unless I would return with him. I 
had tben been in Mount Meigs about a month, or rather 
about two weeks. However, he persuaded me to go with 
him, and we started in an hour afterward. We rode 
all that evening, and did not arrive at Mr. Baldwin's 


until nine o'clock that night. TTe passed through a wild- 
erness country occupied by the Indians, whose camp-fires 
we could see in every direction, a country without roads, 
and the only way of reaching the place was by going 
along little Indian trails, and in one instance through the 
swamp of Cubahatchee. It was very cold ; the country 
was wild, and the wolves were howling in every direc- 
tion. ^Yith Indian camps, and the howlings of the 
wolves, the scene was a novel one for me, indeed. 

Mr. Baldwin lived in a double log-cabin, surrounded 
by twenty or thirty negro-houses, distant a few hundred 
yards from his cabin. The country was being partly 
cleared up for the cultivation of cotton. Everything was 
so rough and uncouth on the outside that I did not ex- 
pect to find anything on the inside to contradict the 
impression made by the external appearance of things. 
"When I went in, Mr. Baldwin was sitting with his 
feet to a blazing big fire, and the room was altogether 
very cheerful and comfortable. He was glad to see 
me, and welcomed me as if I had been a real doctor. 
I had forgotten to say that, though I was twenty- 
two years old, I had no beard and looked like a boy. 
About as soon as I entered the room, I discovered a 
piano. I said to myself, "I didn't expect to find a 
piano in this wilderness ; who would have dreamed of 
it \ n In about twenty minutes I heard a door open 
and a rustling:, and, looking behind, there was one 
of the most beautiful young women I have ever seen 
in all my life. She was tall, graceful, highly-educated, 


handsome, and accomplished. If I had not been then en- 
gaged to be married, I am sure I should have yielded 
to the beauty, and to the charms and fascinations of 
the surroundings of this lovely young woman. But we 
soon became very good friends, and I made a confidante 
^of her, and that put us on very good and warm social 
relations. Her sister was the patient, and, after they 
gave us something to eat, I was invited into the sick- 
room. I found Dr. Bronson in attendance. He was a 
man over fifty years of age, had had the advantages of a 
good medical education, but, unfortunately, he drank — 
had even been drunk during the management of this 
case, which was very critical. I went with him to the 
sick patient. The child had been born about six days 
before. The mother was extremely ill, and I had sense 
enough to see that she was dangerously so, and I also 
had good sense enough, in our consultation, to see that 
a little tact was necessary. I said, " My dear doctor, I 
find that you 'have managed this case strictly in accord- 
ance with the principles laid down by our very best 
medical authorities." That was politic, for, as I said, I 
really did not know. I told him that I approved entire- 
ly of the course pursued, and that I had nothing to do ; 
no alteration or suggestion to make in his treatment. 
This, too, was politic ; for I didn't know what to sug- 
gest. They were very much pleased with my gentle- 
manly deportment and kindly manner, and would not 
let me think of returning home the next day. 

I found myself most comfortably situated, with this 


beautiful girl as a companion, and she had a first cousin* 

a Miss , who was certainly as beautiful and as ac- 

complished. These girls had just returned from a high 
school in Georgia, where they had had the advantages of 
the best education that could be obtained for voting ladies 
at that day and time. I remained there two or three 
days, going through the formalities, two or three times a 
day, of consulting with the doctor, and leaving him to 
manage the case as he pleased, while the girls and myself 
galloped through the country on fleet horses, visiting 
places of interest in the wilderness. 

Just before I came away, Mr. Evans said to me, 
" Doctor, Mrs. McElroy's overseer is very sick, and has 
had two or three doctors to see him within the last fort- 
night, and we think that he is going to die." People 
living in a wilderness had to send thirty or forty miles 
for a doctor, and put off post-haste if anybody was seri- 
ously ill. The doctors would come once, prescribe for 
the patient, and would never come back again. That 
poor fellow had had two or three doctors, one from Troy, 
in Pike County, and another from somewhere else. Still 
he was very ill, and so Mr. Evans asked me if I would 
go over and see him. I said I had rather not, and he 
had better send for somebody else, some of the big doc- 
tors. I said, " He won't care to see me ; I haven't the 
knowledge and reputation sufficient to take the charge of 
such a case as that. It has baffled the skill of all the 
doctors, and I have no desire to undertake anvthing that 
I know so little about." However, he insisted on my 


going. So the two girls and I mounted our horses, and 
we galloped over to Mrs. McElroy's, distant about three 

A very unfortunate thing happened to me on the 
excursion. On the road, we came to an Indian old field, 
about three hundred yards across. The girls bantered me 
for a race across that old field ; and so we all put spurs to 
our horses, and went it like madcaps. Just as we got to 
the end of the race (of course the girls beat me) I drew 
up my horse suddenly, straightened myself in the stirrups, 
when I heard something go " r-r-r-rip," and then I heard, 
to my horror, something tear loose about my breeches. 
I had purchased a new pair of pantaloons just before 
starting on this visit to Mr. Evans, and, to my dismay, 
they were split down behind, right in the very middle. I 
laid my handkerchief down on the pommel of my saddle, 
and said, " God bless the man who invented frock coats." 
When I got to the place, I was in a quandary. I didn't 
know what was to be done, for the breeches were torn 
open about six inches in the crotch. But I made a 
joke of it, and told the girls that I was a ruined man. 
So when we got into the house they kindly offered to 
repair the damage ; and so I was sent into another 
room, and, taking the garment off, passed it through 
the door to them, to be sewed up. While they were so 
engaged they had a good frolic over the affair. I put 
the pantaloons on, and we had a hearty laugh over the 
accident. They were sensible girls and appreciated the 
affair as well as a boy would. 


By and by Mr. Evans arrived, and lie said, " Now, 
doctor, we will go into the cabin and see Mr. Adams, 
the ' overseer.' " He had apprised Mr. Adams of my 
arrival, and when I entered the room the poor, suf- 
fering man turned himself to one side, and, rolling 
his keen eyes up to me, said to Mr. Evans, " My 
God, Evans, do you call that thing a doctor? Take 
him away ; take him away. I have got no use for 
such a looking man as that. I am too a sick a man 
to be fooled with. Take him away." Really, I did 
not blame the poor fellow, for, had I been as sick a 
man as he was, I should have been of his opinion. I 
did not get into a bad humor, as many a foolish doc- 
tor does, or would have done, on such an occasion, but 
simply said, "Mr. Adams, I haven't come here to see 
you as a doctor, but simply to gratify Mr. Evans ; I 
haven't the least desire to prescribe for you. I have 
great sympathy for you, and for everybody else who 
is sick, and I want to see them get well. I haven't 
the knowledge or experience necessary to treat any man 
who is as sick as you are, or as you seem to be." 

He was quieted down by my kind words and suave 
manner, and said, "You will forgive me, won't you?" 
I said, " I have nothing to forgive you for. I did not 
come here either to prescribe for you, or even to in- 
vestigate your case." He said, "I will give you my 
history, since you are so good as to come and see me, 
and you have been so kind." And then he gave me 
a minute account of his attack and sickness. I made 


no prescription, and left him soon after, and rode back to 
Mr. Evans's ; the next day I rode back to Mount Meigs, 
after this very curious experience in the wild woods of 
Macon County, in the Creek Nation. The lady who had 
puerperal fever died the day after I left. 

Just exactly four weeks from that day, which 
brought it up to the 17th of December, Mr. Evans 
came to Mount Meigs again, for Dr. Lucas to go and 
see Mr. Adams, who was still very ill. Dr. Lucas was 
in Tuscaloosa, and so he came after me. I said : " I will 
not go ; I met the man once, and I am not the man 
he wants to attend his case. I do not know anything 
about his case, and I can not go." 

Mr. Evans said, "Since you were there we have 
had eight or nine doctors to see him from different 
parts of the State, and one from Georgia, and nobody 
does anything for him, and you must go with me." 

Most unwillingly, so far as the patient was con- 
cerned, but most willingly, so far as the recollection of 
those two charming young ladies was concerned, I 
mounted my horse, and went with Mr. Evans to see Mr. 
Adams. I found Mr. Adams emaciated to a skeleton, 
and so changed that I should hardly have known him. 
He was very willing for me to investigate his case, for 
he was used to having doctors investigate it, and all to 
no profit. Nobody seemed to understand what was the 
matter with him. But my having seen him previously, 
and having gotten from him a minute history of the case 
in the early stages of it, this experience was now of 


some service to me in arriving at a diagnosis of the case. 
When I came to turn him partly over on his back, and 
pat him on the liver, the right side, and the abdomen, 
I found that the right side of the abdomen was higher 
than the other ; and, when I discovered that there was 
fluctuation, I immediately said : "There is matter here, 
and it must come out, or this man will die. It will have 
to be opened and come out." Mr. Adams said, "But 
how can that be so, when so many doctors have seen 
and examined me, and none of them have found it 

I said : " Of this I am sure. I am not much of a 
doctor, but when it comes to seeing and feeling and 
handling things, I know something, and I know that 
there is matter in this belly, and it either comes out or 
you will die. There is a young doctor living in your 
neighborhood, that you have never heard of." 

"Who is he?" asked Mr. Adams. 

"He is Dr. Baker; a graduate of my own college 
in Philadelphia, a year ago ; a young Yankee, who has 
come down to seek his fortune in the South, and he 
lives not far from here." \ 

"Yes," said Mr. Evans, "I have heard of him." 

I said: "I wish you would send for him to come 
over here. As soon as he comes, he will know what 
is the matter with you, and he will have good sense 
enough to see it as I do. He will indorse what I have 
to say, because he has had the same training in the 
same great medical school from which I was graduated." 


That required a day, and I didn't mind, as I had 
the two pretty girls to talk to. Dr. Baker was sent 
for, and he came over the next day (the 18th), in the 
morning. We examined the patient very minutely, and 
then we went out and sat on the fence, under a white- 
oak tree, for a consultation. I said : 

" Well, Baker, there is some matter there." 

He said, " No, I don't think so." 

I said, " Well, what is it then ? " 

He replied, " Fungus hsematodes." 

I said: "If he has fungus hsematodes, he will die; 
and if he has matter in there he will die, if you do not 
put a knife into it. If he has fungus hsematodes, we 
ought to give him a chance for his life, by sticking a 
knife into it." 

He said : " I am opposed to any surgical operations." 

That blocked the game completely. Bu-t I was not 
willing to see the man die without any effort made to 
save him. So I proposed a council. Mr. Billy Dick, 
who was the great authority in that neighborhood, to 
whom everybody appealed and looked for advice, and 
three or four of his neighbors, were called in. Mr. Dick 
was a clear-headed man, of sound judgment, capable of 
weighing evidence, and much respected in the com- 

" Gentlemen," I said, " our consultation results in a 
difference of opinion between us. There is no doctor in 
the neighborhood to decide, and I will make a statement 
of the case, and leave you gentlemen to decide what 


should be done. It is my opinion, gentlemen, that Mr. 
Adams has pns in his abdomen, probably in the liver. 
It is the opinion of Dr. Baker that it is not pns, but that 
it is a malignant disease. Be it one or the other, he will 
die if left as he is. If it is pns, it should be evacuated, 
and he will get well almost immediately. If it is what 
Dr. Baker thinks, sticking a knife into him might shorten 
his life a little, but not much. Death is certain if we do 
nothing. I think we ought to open it and see what it 
is. We leave it to you, gentlemen, whose advice to fol- 
low — mine or Dr. Baker's." 

Mr. Dick spoke up at once, saying : " We will follow 
your advice." 

I said, " Yery well." So we went into the room — it 
was before the days of anaesthetics — and, pulling out a 
bistoury, I plunged it into his belly. I think it was one 
of the happiest moments of my life when I saw the mat- 
ter flow and come welling up opposite that bistoury. It 
discharged two quarts of matter at once, and continued 
discharging for two or three days. A few days after 
that Mr. Adams was able to walk out, and a week after 
he rode over to Mr. Dick's, seven miles, and dined. He 
subsequently married Mrs. McElroy. It was my first 
surgical operation in Alabama. He became a rich man, 
went to Texas, and he has descendants in that State now. 

Of course, this operation and its success gave me a 
great reputation in the neighborhood, and it was reflected 
back to Mount Meigs. I had engaged board at Miss 
Judkins's, and it made me a comfortable and pleasant 


home. My prospects were brightening. I was making 
friends every day, and before six weeks had rolled around 
I felt so secure in my new position and location, and es- 
pecially in my prospects, that I thought that I could 
safely return to my native town to get married to the 
girl whom I had loved from the time of my schoolboy 
days. It was about the 1st of February, 1836, that I 
arrived in Lancaster, having been a week on the road in 
the stage. When I said that I had come to claim the 
hand of my affianced, and take her to my home with me 
in the West, her mother begged and implored me to wait 
until the following December. I was greatly disappoint- 
ed, but I was obliged to bow to the wishes of my sweet- 
heart's mother. 



The Seminole war — A journey to Philadelphia and Xew York — An expe- 
rience in Charleston — An expedition against the Creek Indians — A 
sickly season — An attack of fever. 

At that time the Seminole war had just broken out, 
and mT brother and all the other yotuq£ men of Lancas- 
ter were forming a volunteer company to go to the war. 
After three days' notice they started, and I was so fired 
with the war spirit by my visit to South Carolina that I 
was ready for anything, and was exceedingly anxious to 
follow my comrades and the friends of my youth to 
Florida. I was determined to do it ; but my father 
begged me not sacrifice my foothold in Alabama, and 
said that if I went I should lose everything that I had 
gained there. He had been for a long time wishing to 
send my sisters, one of whom was twelve and the other 
ten, to Philadelphia to school. And. more out of a pre- 
text for keeping me from going to the Florida war than 
to take them to Philadelphia, he begged me to go with 
them to Philadelphia, as he was not able to go. He did 
not intend to send them for perhaps a year, but used this 
as a pretext to keep me from going to Florida. 

"We left for Philadelphia about the 10th of February, 


1836. It was a cold winter, and the severity of the 
season killed the orange and China trees at the Sonth 
in great numbers. We had a very bad time getting 
North, traveling by stage all the way. There were snow 
and ice from the time we struck Charlotte, North Caro- 
lina, and we were obliged at different places to stop on 
account of the blockade. At Fredericksburg we had to 
remain four days, and when we arrived at Washington 
we were obliged to remain three or four days there. In 
Baltimore we had to remain two or three days before we 
could go on to Philadelphia. The snow was deep and 
the ice obstructed travel in every direction. At last we 
landed in Philadelphia, about the 1st of March. We 
were more than two weeks going. During the three 
days that I was in Washington I went to the capitol, 
and had an opportunity to see the great men of the 
nation. Among them were Henry Clay, Daniel Web- 
ster, Benton, Calhoun, Yan Buren (who was President 
then), John Quincy Adams, and others of note. 

Arriving in Philadelphia, I placed my sisters in Miss 
Edmunds's school, where I had been boarding a year 
before. I remained there a week or ten days, renewing 
acquaintance with my old friends, and then took my de- 
parture for the South, by way of New York. It took 
twenty-four hours to go from New York to Philadelphia, 
a distance now covered in ninety minutes. I remained in 
New York about a week, and I recollect one Sunday — I 
was boarding in Beekman Street, at a Quaker boarding- 
house, not far from where the "Times" office is now 


located — walking out into the country with a young 
medical student. We walked and walked till I was 
tired, and we went into the fields where they were build- 
ing some new houses, which were very beautiful. I 
wondered why they should be building houses away out 
there in the fields. I said, the town can certainly never 
grow enough to come away up here. The fields I visited 
then, and the new houses I saw building, and thought 
were so far in the country, were in what is now Wash- 
ington Square and Lafayette Place. 

I took the steamer for Charleston, and arrived there 
the first of April, without a dollar in my pocket. I 
hoped that, being in my own native state, it would 
be easy enough for me to raise money, and I was sure 
that I should see friends and get from them money 
enough to return to Alabama. I stopped at the best 
hotel, the " Carolina Coffee-House," and I immediately 
looked over the list of arrivals to see if there was any- 
body there that I knew from the up-country ! There 
was no name that I was familiar with. Then I went 
to the Planters', to Miott's, and looked all over town, 
to see the registers, and to see if there was any one 
there, and, to my utter amazement and dismay, there 
was not a name that I had ever seen or heard of before. 
The next day I made the same rounds of the hotels, 
and all in vain ; and then the next day, but I could 
find not a name that I knew or ever had heard of before. 
Then I was in utter despair ; what to do I did not 
know. I could not stay there much longer; I was 


obliged to go home, and yet hadn't a penny in my 
pocket. I was too proud to go and ask any of the 
professors in the Medical College to lend me money. 
Indeed, during the winter that I was there, I was so 
reticent that I did not make many acquaintances among 
the professors, and knew none of them very well, ex- 
cept the demonstrator of anatomy, Dr. John Bellin- 
ger. At last I remembered having heard my father 
speak of a commission-merchant in Charleston, by the 
name of John Robinson ; that a good many years ago 
he used to trade with him, and bought a great many 
groceries of him, and other supplies, such as were usual 
in the stock of an ordinary country store. The idea 
occurred to me that I would go to Mr. Robinson, and 
tell him frankly who I was and my condition, and ask 
him to help me. So I inquired the way to his office, 
and was directed, and then I walked down to the pier 
and looked in. I could not have the heart to ask a 
stranger to lend me fifty dollars. I soliloquized : " What 
if he thinks that I am an impostor ? What if he thinks 
that I am really the son of Colonel Sims, and yet might 
be a swell swindler ? " So I went back to the hotel to 
pass another night, wondering what I should do. I took 
the round of the hotels, thinking that perhaps some one 
from the up-country would be in the city, but all to no 
avail. The next morning, in a state of despair, I went 
again to Mr. Robinson's. The first time I inquired for 
him I was told that he was not in his office. I stood 
there with an aching heart and bewildered mind. The 


second time I timidly inquired if he was in, and was 
told that he was not, but that he would be back soon, 
in the course of half an hour. I was glad that he was 
not in, I was so heavy-hearted and sad and unhappy, and 
I scarcely knew what to do. But, by and by, after stand- 
ing lounging around at his office for a little time, the 
half-hour passed, and he returned. I went into the 
store, and was shown into his private office and count- 
ing-room. He was a splendid, fine-looking old fellow, a 
Scotchman I thought from his accent. I said : 

"Mr. Robinson, I am Dr. J. Marion Sims, of Ala- 
bama, and I am the son of Colonel Sims, of Lancaster. I 
left home not long ago to go to Philadelphia with my sis- 
ters, leaving them at school. I have journeyed thus far 
on my return home. I have been a little improvident, 
not extravagant, and not dissipated. Unfortunately, I 
am out of money, entirely so, and now I leave it to 
you to judge whether I am an impostor. I know I am 
an honest man, and I ask you to lend me fifty dollars 
to carry me to my home in Mount Meigs." 

"I will gladly do it," he said, in a minute. "I 
know your father very well, and I know that you are 
just what you represent yourself to be, and what I take 
you to be." 

I never was so relieved in all my life as I was by 
his generosity and kindness. He said, " When will 
you leave ? " 

I replied, " Just as soon as I can settle my bill at 
the hotel. I have been here now four days, looking at 


the hotel registers, thinking I might find somebody 
from Columbia, or some other up-country town, from 
my home. I could find no one, and in my state of de- 
spair I have thrown myself on your generosity. I will 
return the money as soon as I get to my home in Ala- 

He said, " If you will wait until the day after to-mor- 
row, my son William is going to Marengo. He is a 
good traveling companion, and I think you-will like him 
very much." 

I waited, and on the day named I started, with young 
Mr. Robinson as a traveling companion, and arrived 
safely at my destination. But that visit made a deep 
impression on me, and the kind reception I received sank 
deep into my heart. I know that I have paid the money 
I borrowed of Mr. Robinson, over and over again, to 
many a man in want. I hadn't the conscience to de- 
cline when called upon, as I reflected on my feelings 
that I experienced that morning in Charleston. I have 
helped many __ a man unworthily, simply because I 
thought it was better to let money go in that way than 
to turn a man away who was deserving of assistance. 

Soon after we passed into the Creek Nation the war 
broke out. Indeed, the stage that we went on was about 
the last that was allowed to pass, or that went from 
Georgia to Montgomery, Alabama, and a day or two 
after that the stages were attacked by the Creek In- 
dians, and the passengers and drivers murdered. The 
whole country was in a turmoil, and volunteers were 


called from every quarter to keep tlie Indians within 
bounds, and to prevent their raids upon the settlers, 
until the forces of the regular army could be concen- 
trated. As there were no railroads then, it took a long 
time for General Gaines to get sufficient troops into 
the Creek Nation to quell the turmoil. Yolunteers 
were called for, and Mount Meigs sent its quota. Cap- 
tain Merrill Ashurst issued the call for volunteers, and 
in three days he was at the head of one hundred and 
twenty of the finest-mounted young men in the country ! 
They were armed with shot-guns and rifles, and each 
with his private arms. I was in the ranks. A regi- 
ment had been called out from Montgomery, and I was 
offered the position of assistant surgeon in the regiment. 
But I preferred to go under Captain Ashurst's com- 
mand, with my friends, as a private. We were in the 
Creek Nation five weeks — a little over a month — where, 
as I have often said to my friends, I " have fought, bled, 
and died for my country." Captain Ashurst had a diffi- 
cult position to fill, for every man was the equal of every 
other man, and every man felt that no other man was his 
superior; and so he had the most unruly set of fellows 
entirely to manage. Dr. Hugh Henry, of Montgomery, 
was the major in command of the battalion. Ashurst's 
men were very unruly and impatient, and they didn't 
want to be confined to the military drill and discipline ; 
and they wanted to be on the move and scouting all the 
time. Major Henry hardly knew what to do with 
them. At last, Captain Ashurst went to him one day, 


and he said : " Major, I don't know how I am to man- 
age these young men, unless you just give me the privi- 
lege of doing as I please. They are all of the very best 
blood in the country, and I can't drive them. I couldn't 
drive them to heaven, and yet I know that I could lead 
-tliem to hell. Just give me the privilege of going into 
Tusceega to-morrow." 

The major said: "I will send you off as advance- 
guard." And so we marched off to Tusceega. When 
we arrived at Tusceega at night, we pitched our tents, 
and the spies of Opothleo-ho-holo, the chief of the Creek 
Nation, so we found out afterward, reported to him that 
one hundred and twenty volunteers had arrived at Tus- 
ceega, and were easy to cut off. He was a wise old man, 
and he 6aid : " I do not believe it. White people are not 
fools. They would not send a hostile force of only one 
hundred men to Tusceega. That is his advance-guard, 
and on either side of the town is a regiment behind them. 
I shall not molest them ; " and it was to his distrust of 
his spies that we all owe our lives ; for he could easily 
have annihilated the entire hundred without trouble. 

It was a war without bloodshed. General Gaines 
arrived in time to send us all to our happy homes in 
five weeks, and that was enough to satisfy our love of 
adventure, and the exposure was sufficient to satisfy us 
with the honors of war. We reached Mount Meigs again 
on the 5th of June, a hot, dusty day, glad enough to 
return to that peaceful abode. This five weeks for me 
was a great thing. I went into that command perfectly 


unknown, and a boy in appearance, bnt a man in spirit ; 
and I came out of it with one hundred and twenty 
friends. All of the command were devoted friends of 
mine and to me. It laid the foundation of my popu- 
larity so deeply that I was soon sent for as the doctor 
for all the fellows that had been with me in that little 
excursion into the Creek Xation. 

I was not at home a week before I found myself 
with plenty to do ; and during June and July I was sent 
for in every direction to see sick people, and there was 
sickness enough in all conscience. The whole country 
was down with malarial fever. There were not enough 
well people to wait on the sick ones, and so it was 
that in private families people suffered for the want 
of medical attendance and the want of nursing, and 
Death seemed to me to walk in the wake of the doctors. 
I have never known such a mortality as there was 
at that time. I had never had a day's sickness in 
my life, and never thought that I could be sick. On 
the 4th day of September I went to the plantation of 
Mr. John Ashurst. The Ashurst family had taken me 
up as a doctor — John, Robert, and Merrill, and ^Vard 
Crocket, who had married a sister, Miss Ashurst, and 
the same boy that I had stuck the pin in the chair 
for when we were schoolboys together at Lancaster — 
and through their influence I had plenty to do. 

On the 4th of Sentember I went to John Ashurst's, 
who had a white house two miles from the village of 
Mount Meigs, where there were twenty or thirty sick 


negroes. I went from cabin to cabin, prescribing for 
them, and I felt very tired from the day's work. About 
twelve o'clock in the day, when I had made my rounds, 
I felt a little shiver run down my back. I made my way 
to the overseer's house, and soon I had a heavier chill, 
and half an hour later a raging fever with delirium. 
The fever passed off, moderately, toward night, and I 
was then barely able to mount my horse, and ride slowly 
back to Mount Meigs, where I went to bed. The next 
day Dr. Lucas came to see me ; he was exceedingly 
kind to me and prompt in coming, although he was 
worked to death, going day and night, with more to 
do than he could possibly do well. When he came in, 
he examined me very minutely. Looking around, he 
saw a little mulatto girl, Anarcha, in the room, and 
he said, " Bring me a string, and a little cotton, and 
a bowl ; I am going to draw a little blood from the 

I said, " My dear, good doctor, you are not going to 
bleed me, are you?" 

He said, " Yes, sir, old fellow, I'm going to bleed 

I said, " Doctor, do you think I will die to-night, or 
before to-morrow, if you don't bleed me?" 

He replied, " No, by God ! you won't die before to- 
morrow if I do not bleed you." 

" Then, doctor," I said, " you will excuse me if I am 
not bled to-night." 

" Well," he said, " that is just as you please ; but 


you ought to be bled. I had an idea that you were a 

d d contrary fellow, and now I know it." 

If I had been bled I should never have got well 
nor been here to tell you this story. I was very ill ; 
the fever raged, and I didn't know how to arrest its 
progress by the treatment with quinine. This was be- 
fore the days of quininisni, and fevers were allowed to 
take their course. Patients were bled, purged, admin- 
istered tartar emetic, and given fever-mixtures every 
two hours during the twenty -four ; the patients were 
salivated, and the patients died, some of them sooner 
than others. Those who were bled and purged the 
strongest died the quickest. I got worse day by day. 
At last the fourteenth day came, and the fever still 
continued. By that time there were no doctors to be 
had. Often I was three days without seeing a doctor. 
I had no nurse ; poor Mrs. Judkins was down sick ; one 
son was expected to die in the same house, and all the 
servants were sick. A little negro girl would sleep in 
the room with me, and hand me a drink of water occa- 
sionally. But I had no treatment, and nothing to arrest 
the progress of the disease or of the fever. On the four- 
teenth day of my illness a young Englishman, living in 
Montgomery, a druggist, named Thomas B. Coster, hav- 
ing been out on a collecting excursion, happened to 
arrive in Mount Meigs about sundown. He stopped at 
the village hotel kept by Colonel Freeney. While at 
supper he said to Mrs. Freeney, " You have a young 
doctor living here, a nice young fellow, whom I know 


very well. Last June I was in the Creek Nation with 
him. He was in Captain Ashurst's company. He is 
from South Carolina. Can you tell me about him ? " 

" Yes," said she, " I can tell you all about him. He 

is a nice young fellow, and we all think a great deal of 

ihim, and we are all fond of him ; and he has made 

friends with everybody. But he isn't going to be with 

us long ; he is going to die to-night, they tell me." 

" What? Is that possible ? " he said. " 'Where does 
he live ? Where is he ? I must go to see him." 

" Eight up the street, about one hundred yards," Mrs. 
Freeney said. 

So he came up to see me at once. I was an emaci- 
ated skeleton, in the last agonies, and with little or no 
pulse, and a cold, clammy sweat. My pulse had not 
been felt below the elbow for some time ; but my mind 
was perfectly clear. He said, " Doctor, what are you 
taking ? Who is attending you ? " I said, " I haven't 
seen a doctor for three or four days." 

" But," he said, " are you taking nothing ? Don't 
they give you any brandy? Don't they give you any 
quinine ? Have you no nurse ? " 

" No," I said, " I have no nurse, for there are not 
well people enough to wait on the sick. Poor Mrs. Jud- 
kins is sick in the next room ; her son is going to die, 
and there is nobody to wait on the well people or the 
sick ones. I feel that I am dying ; I think that I shall 
die to-night." 

" Who is to sit up with you ? " he asked. When I 


told him that I expected nobody, he continued, " Then I 
will sit np with you, and see you through the night." 

I turned over and wept like a child to see such kind- 
ness, which was perfectly disinterested. All that I re- 
member was that, during the night, a soft hand like a 
woman's would be placed back of my head, and his 
tender voice, saying, " Drink, doctor ; take this drink ; 
drink just this ; it is only a little brandy ; " and very 
soon again the brandy would be poured down me, and 
then again the same voice would say, " Here, doctor, I 
have some quinine that I travel with, and I am going to 
give you some on my own responsibility." I swallowed 
some of the most nauseous doses that night, but I felt 
that the hand of a ministering angel had been tending 

The next morning he left me. He bade me not 
despair ; that many a man had recovered from a prostra- 
tion as severe as mine, and he hoped that I would get 
well. That was the turning-point in my disease. The 
reaction was brought about by the administering of the 
proper remedies in the hand of my friend Mr. Coster. 
The pulse returned, and although he could feel it when 
he went away that morning, and said he hoped that I 
would get well, still he has told me many a time that 
he never expected to see me alive, or lay his eyes on me 
again. My recovery was very, very slow indeed. 

Alabama never saw so sickly a season as that. 
Scarcely a single family escaped, and the whole coun- 
try was left in mourning. One poor fellow, living across 


the way from us, who had moved there only six months 
before from Georgia, lost his wife and two children and 
the only negro that he had. When he went to bury his 
wife there was no one to help him, or that was well 
enough to follow her coffin, but himself and two or 
^three negroes that officiated at the grave. That year's 
sickness was a great lesson to me. I learned much from 
observation and from experience, and especially how 
much mortality followed the practice of the doctors. I 
became exceedingly conservative ; I never bled, and 
gave as little medicine as possible. But it was not long 
before the practice of the country was completely revolu- 
tionized. The writings of Fearne and Erskine, in Ala- 
bama, were the first to throw light upon the proper 
method of treating malaria and malarial fevers. Until 
their day, the doctors were in the habit of bleeding 
and physicking people until the fever disappeared, and 
then giving them quinine, a grain or two, three times 
a day. But Fearne and Erskine and others preached 
the doctrine of giving it without any regard to prelimi- 
nary treatment, giving it always in the beginning, if 
possible, and giving it in sufficient doses to affect the 
system at once. But to return to myself : I was con- 
fined to the house, in all, about two months ; for my 
convalescence was very slow, and, indeed, I sometimes 
despaired of getting well at all. It left me with an 
enlarged spleen, and I had occasional attacks of inter- 
mittent fever. But about the 20th of November I 
felt strong enough to undertake the journey to South 


Carolina. I improved every day from that moment, 
and by the time I arrived at home, which was about 
the first of December, I felt strong enough to walk two 
or three miles. I improved very rapidly. Of course, I 
lost my hair, but that soon grew out again. 


My courtship — Obstacles and difficulties— My secret engagement — My 


When I was about eleven years of age, and living in 
Lancaster village, I was standing by my mother one Sat- 
urday afternoon, about five o'clock, looking out of the 
window, when I saw a young girl coming along the 
street, leading her little brother by the hand. I said, 
" Oh, see, ma ; what a pretty little girl ! Isn't she a 
beauty? Who is she?" 

My mother replied, " That is the daughter of Dr. 
Jones, and she is coming here to see me. I have dressed 
you up in your best clothes expressly to receive her." 
Presently the girl came in, leading her little brother. I 
was so shy and confused that I could not approach to 
be introduced ; but from that time I was dead in love 
with her. Soon after this the Franklin Academy was 
started and opened for pupils. During all the time I 
was there I was loyal to Theresa, She was my ideal 
and my idol. I was devoted to her from the time I 
was eleven and she eight. After I went to college at 
Columbia she was sent to Barhamville, to Dr. Marks's 


school, near Columbia, and I used occasionally to go out 
v to the school to make her visits, and also to see some 
other young ladies who came from the same region of 
country that I did, and whom I Inew. By and by she 
graduated at the school, and returned home a year be- 
fore I did. She was now sixteen or seventeen, and had 
grown to be a fine woman, tall, handsome, and very soon 
was a great belle, while I was a comparative pigmy. 

After I left college and returned home, I began to 
study medicine with Theresa's uncle, Dr. Churchill Jones. 
I found her then a blooming young lady, a leader and 
a belle in society, greatly admired, with beaus coming 
from every direction. She was a dashing girl, a fine 
rider, with fine accomplishments and great beauty. She 
had some little fortune, which I regretted very much, 
for I had none. As I was now twenty years old, I was 
very much afraid that she might forget the tender attach- 
ment between us as children. She had many and rich 
beaus, talented, excellent, splendid fellows, of good fami- 
lies and of fortune, so that I was exceedingly anxious to 
let her know that I had the same affection for her that 
I always had. I was afraid that she might become en- 
gaged to some of the young men that were flying around 
her, and so I determined to let her know that childhood 
love had only increased with manhood growth. I tried 
my best to tell her about it, but I could not. My love 
was so profound that I could not find the tongue to 
express it. I arranged to take walks with her, but I 
never could speak. I talked about everything but the 


thing I would like to have talked about. At last, seeing 
that it was impossible for me to speak to her, I sat down 
and wrote her a note. It was dated the fifth day of 
March, 1833 — fifty years ago. I told her that I had 
always loved her, that I was too young to propose mar- 
triage, and too poor to marry ; that I wanted her to 
know of my affection, and I wished very much to know 
whether she returned it or not. I felt that, having 
written to her once, I could talk to her when oppor- 
tunity presented itself. My brother took the letter. 

I shall never forget with what anxiety I watched 
for him., to return and tell me all that happened. She 
read the letter, so he said when he returned, and did 
not seem angered, nor did she throw it back to him. 
I went to see her, but I could hardly bring myself to 
talk. I said: "You have received a letter from me." 
She said that she had. That ended it. The thing went 
that way for a whole month. I was very anxious to 
know what she meant. At last, one evening, we took a 
walk, partly to go out to Mr. James Witherspoon's, her 
brother-in-law, who lived in Cooterborough, one of the 
suburbs of the town of Lancaster. We walked out there 
with a party of young people. It was more than half a 
mile, but I could not talk on the subjects that I wanted 
to talk about. I was pretty sure that she loved me, and 
yet I feared that perhaps she did not. I thought that 
I would have the thing over before we got to Mr. 
Witherspoon's to tea. We returned by a longer route, 
as an excuse for a longer walk. It was a beautiful moon- 


light night, and we had walked about half a mile with- 
out my coming to the point. I said to myself, " What a 
fool I am, that I can not talk to this girl frankly and 
openly." My heart was in my throat, and my mouth so 
dry that I could hardly speak. Looking ahead I saw 
Mr. Locke's blacksmith shop, and I vowed not to pass 
that shop without knowing. There was a large locust- 
tree there, and we stepped under it. I said: 

" Theresa, I wrote you a note a month ago. You are 
seventeen years old this very day, and you are old enough 
to think of what that note contained. I did not ask you 
to marry me, but I do ask you now — will you marry 

She said, in a low, tremulous voice, " No, Marion, I 
can never marry you." 

TYe never spoke after that during the rest of the 
walk. It was the longest quarter of a mile I ever walked 
in my life. I led her up the steps of her house and 
timidly said " Good night," and went away. I think I 
was the most miserable wretch that was ever in love. I 
did not know what in the world to do. I did not sleep 
a wink that night. If I had been fond of liquor I 
should have gone off and got drunk. But I never drank, 
and would not get drunk. I had passed through college 
(two years) and had never smoked a cigar. But I went 
up town and bought some common American cigars, and 
sat down and smoked one, and I felt very badly. I said, 
" I have a great mind to get drunk." And then I said, 
"No, I will not; I wish I were dead. I don't know 


what I was born for, anyhow. I am of no account, and 
I will never make love again. She is right ; she ought 
never to marry me. The world looks dark to me. I 
wish I were dead." 

I was very unhappy, taking it altogether. I lived a 
half a mile from the village. And from Dr. Jones's, 
where I studied medicine, I could see my sweetheart's 
house, and could occasionally see her walking in the 
garden ! My whole life was changed ; I was embittered, 
and I did not know how to judge her. I said, " She is 
like all women; she will sell herself for money. She 
is venal." How unkind and cruel was it in me to speak 
of her in that way ; I could not understand it. Perhaps 
it was because her brother, and her mother, and the fam- 
ily opposed me. If she had only said that she loved 
me and would be constant to me ! I said, "J know what 
it is ; there is some young fellow from North Carolina, 
who has a fortune, and is a matured man, and every- 
thing for a girl to love. She liked me as a schoolboy, 
but not now that she has grown to be a magnificent 
woman." So I soliloquized. First, I upbraided her, and 
then abused myself. Then I wished that I were dead, 
or that I had never been born, and at last, in despair, 
I went to my father, and I said : 

" Father, I know you are \erj poor, but don't you 
think you could manage some way to allow me to leave 
this place % If I had a few hundred dollars I could go 
to Alabama, or go somewhere ? " 

He said, " My son, are you crazy % " 


I said, "Xo father, I am not crazy, but I will tell 
yon what is the matter. You know that Theresa and I 
have been sweethearts all cur lives. The rich Xorth 
Carolina fellows are flourishing around her, and I made 
up my mind some little time ago that I would tell her 
all about my love for her. But she rejected me, and so 
I would lite to go away from here ; I can not stand it. 
I can not study, and I do not know what to do/*' He 
said, " My dear boy, I am very sony for you, but I can 
not help you. I couldn't give you one hundred dollars 
to save my life. I advise you to accept the inevitable. 
I have known Theresa from her infancy, and have seen 
how devoted and attentive you have been to her. I 
have seen her grow up to be beautiful and accomplished, 
and she is certainly one of the finest women I have ever 
seen, and nothing would have made me so happy as to 
have called her my daughter. But you must accept 
your fate ; you must work on ; not give up, but make 
a man of yourself, and do not get despondent, or neg- 
lect your studies. Go to work, that is my advice." 

I never went to the village in the daytime, but re- 
mained out in the edge of the forest, occasionally going 
to the village at night to see some of the boys of the 
town, and then I would sneak home by a back way. I 
never went along the main street, for it was almost im- 
possible to go into the village of Lancaster withont going 
by Dr. Jones's door. I never passed it ; on the con- 
trary, I avoided it. 

One day I happened to meet Betsey Witherspoon. 


She was a cousin of Theresa Jones, and her bosom and 
intimate friend. Soon after we met she said, " Cousin 
Marion " (we always called each other cousins although 
we were no kin), have you seen Theresa lately ? " 

I said, " No, only at a distance." 

"Well how are you and Theresa getting on these 
days? Tell me all about it." 

I said, " Cousin Betsey, you surprise me by the ques- 
tion, and it also hurts me very much." - 

She said, " What ? " 

I said, " I am wounded by your putting that ques- 
tion to me. You know what has occurred." 

She said, " What do you mean ? I do not understand 
you. I know nothing that has happened, and I ask you 
for an explanation." 

I said. " Are you in earnest in what you say ? " 

She said, "Perfectly so." 

" Then," I said, " I will tell you. Three months 
ago I asked Theresa to marry me when I got a profes- 
sion. She said ' No,' and that is all that has passed be- 
tween us. Since then I haven't passed her house, nor 
been in town in daytime. I am a changed man ; I am 

She said, " Cousin Marion, now I understand things ; 
I have noticed something very peculiar about Theresa 
lately. She has been very reticent, and rather sad, but 
has never mentioned your name to me, and I thought 
it was very odd. Now I know that she loves you just 
as well as you love her. I know that the family do not 


want her to marry you, and I presume she has been 
trying to obey her mother, and has sacrificed her heart 
for the peace of the family. She has been as dumb to 
me as you have been all this time.'' 

I said, "Ah, if I thought this were so I would go 
back to her again, because she has complete possession of 
my heart.*' 

She said, " I think if I were in your place I would 
at least see her, and know exactly what her feelings are 
on the subject.*' 

I replied, "I have not been to town in daylight in 
three months, but have been prowling around like a 
night-owl. I haven't passed by Mrs. Jones's house since 
the 4th of last April.** 

The next morning, which was July 23, 1833, I left 
my house and went to the village, not knowing exactly 
where I was going, or what I was going for. But as I 
was walking along the street by the garden of Mrs. 
Jones (it was one of those- old-fashioned, scolloped-paling 
fences), to my great surprise and delight, on the opposite 
side of the palings was Theresa, walking alone, with a 
rose-bud in her hand. So I stopped suddenly, bowed, 
and said, B Good morning, Cousin Theresa." 

She said, " Good morning." 

" You have a pretty rose-bud in your hand : will you 
give it to me ? " She gave me the bud through the 
garden fence ; and now, my dear readers, whenever you 
may call to see me, I will show you that rose-bud. This 
was just fifty years ago. 


We had a long talk that morning, and she told me 
frankly that she had been as miserable as I had been ; 
but she tried to please her mother by saying No to 
me. That as soon as she had sent me away she relented, 
and would have gladly welcomed me if I had come back. 
She said that she had never spoken to her cousin Betsey, 
nor to anybody, and had carried her own heavy heart, as 
I had carried mine. We came to a mutual understand- 
ing, which was this : 

I said, " Now, I will love you forever. I will seem 
not to care anything for or about you. I will never 
come to see you or come to your house, unless I am 
invited. I will not even dare to walk with you to or 
from church. I will never persecute you, or presume 
to follow you. Nobody in this world must know that 
there is anything between us, and you must know that 
I have the utmost confidence in you, for you may carry- 
on all the innocent flirtations that you please, and I beg 
of you to have the same confidence in me." 

With that understanding we parted, and I saw noth- 
ing more of her, excepting "at a distance ; but my heart 
was tranquil, and I was happy. I knew that she re- 
turned my affection, and that was all I wanted to know. 
I was happy enough to see her in the distance, and my 
heart was throbbing for her, as I knew that hers was 
for me. I was poor, and she waited for me a long time. 
I went to Charleston and attended lectures, and came 
home. I never had a fear that she would not prove 
true and faithful to me. I wrote to her, and directed 


the letters to my brother. When he saw the initials 
" J. M. S." on the seal of the letter, he knew it was for 
her. This thing we carried on until I graduated in 
Philadelphia and came home. 

Two years had passed, with this secret hidden from 
everybody but two — Betsey "Witherspoon and my broth- 
er. When I came home and put up my shingle in 
Lancaster as a doctor, I could not claim her hand, as 
I had no money, and no home to take her to. If she 
were willing to wait until I could make her a home, I 
was happy. When I returned from Philadelphia, in 
May, 1835, I found my friend Thornwell settled in 
Lancaster as pastor of the Presbyterian church. Theresa 
was a member of his church, and her family were also 
members of it, and her uncle, Dr. Dunlap, was one of the 
deacons, and one of the lights of the church. Theresa 
had made a confidant of Mr. Thornwell, knowing that 
he was my bosom friend in college. She told him all 
our love story and trials, and he heartily sympathized 
with her. When I returned home from Philadelphia, 
he immediately came to see me, and told me that he 
knew all about the affair ; so I threw off the mask en- 
tirely. I went to Theresa's house every day or two, 
went to church with her, walked with her, rode with 
her, and was a good deal in her society. Her mother 
became quite uneasy, and was very anxious and un- 
happy, and talked with her brother, Dr. Dunlap, and 
her son, Dr. Push Jones, about the matter. She said, 
" He is a very nice fellow ; I have known him ever since 


he was a little boy ; but Theresa must not marry him, 
and the affair must be ended." 

At last, my friend Thornwell came down to see me 
at my office, and he said, " Well, Marion, old boy, there 
is about to be an explosion. The secret must come out 
^iow. Annie" (Annie was Theresa's maid-servant, a 
mulatto girl, a little older than she was, but who was 
in the secrets of her mistress), " Annie came over to tell 
me to go and see Miss Theresa. She told- me that the 
family had been having a consultation, and that she had 
listened and heard Mrs. Jones say, 'I am going to tax 
Theresa with this business, and ask her if she is going 
to marry Marion Sims. I thought all this matter was 
dead and buried long ago, but now it seems to be resus- 
citated.' This young colored girl heard every word of 
the consultation from an adjoining room, and went at 
once and told her mistress, Miss Theresa, all about it. 
Then she sent the girl to me, and said that I must come 
at once to see her." 

I said, " Thornwell, I am going to write a note to 
Mrs. Jones and make a clean breast of the whole affair." 

" That's right," said Thornwell ; " there is nothing 
else to do. I will read a newspaper while you write the 

In about five minutes I had written a nice little note 
to Mrs. Jones, in which I said that Theresa and my- 
self had been sweethearts all our lives, and that we had 
been engaged for the past two years ; that I did not 
propose marriage now, at all ; that I had no means with 


which, to support a wife, but that I hoped when I had 
made a position for myself and a home for Theresa to 
obtain her consent to our union. My friend Thornwell 
read the note, and said I had done exactly right, and 
then added, "]S"ow, old fellow, we will see what can be 

So he took the letter up to Mrs. Jones's. Mrs. Jones 
received it, read its contents carefully, cried bitterly, and 
after a while she said she could not give her consent to 
the marriage, either now or prospectively. 

My friend Thornwell said, " Pray, what is your ob- 
jection to him ? " She had no particular objection to 
me, only that I did not belong to the church. To this 
Thornwell replied : " Two years ago, I was not a mem- 
ber of the church myself. I was in college with Marion 
Sims, and I know that there he was a fellow of good 
morals. He swears a little bit occasionally, but he can 
be cured of that. He has no really bad habits, and now 
that he has a profession he will be able to make his way 
in the world. Xow, as I view it," said Thornwell, con- 
tinuing, " when two young people's hearts have clung 
to each other as long as theirs have, from childhood up, 
the interference of parents and friends is a very serious 
matter, unless there is the best reason for it ; and here 
there is absolutely none." 

Thornwell told her that she was all wrong in this 
matter, and that her opposition was not well founded. 
He said, " I know Marion Sims well. He is an honorable 
young man, and will never elope with or do anything to 


disgrace your daughter. lie will, I am sure, be a good 
husband to her, and a dutiful son-in-law. It is impos- 
sible for you to separate these two young people, and 
I advise you, as your pastor, to dismiss the whole of this 
nonsense, and let them come together now, and be mar- 
Tied whenever he has a home to which he may take her, 
and not till then, be the time near or remote." 

There were ten days of crying and grief, all of which 
time Theresa was kept a prisoner in her little room up- 
stairs, except when she came down to her meals. I, too, 
was quarantined by Mr. Thorn well at my office. These 
were days of anxious solicitude truly, and I was hoping 
every day for the termination of the unhappy aEair. 
At last, Mrs. Jones accepted the inevitable, after the 
plain advice given her by her pastor and friend Thorn- 
well. She sent for her daughter and kindly told her 
that she consented to the union. Mr. Thornwell came 
running down to me with the joyful news, and told 
me I could call at Mrs. Jones's. Of course, I was 
promptly there on time. Mrs. Jones met me with a 
smile and a welcome, making no allusion whatever to 
any of the disagreeable things that had occurred. Every- 
thing was happily understood, without our talking about 

This was in the month of June, 1835. I spent the 
summer in Lancaster, as I have before said. My un- 
happy medical experience there has already been related. 

On the 13th of October, I left for Alabama. I have 
already told the story of my experience there, and of my 


return to South Carolina on the first of December, 1836, 
to be married, We were married on the 21st of that 
month, by the Rev. Mr. Thorn well. We were the first 
couple he ever married. 

I propose now to go on with this narrative, which 
will show how, in the end, much of my success in life 
has been due to my wife's co-operation, and to her wise 
and good advice. 

About the middle of January we went to Alabama. 
I had already engaged rooms at Mrs. Judkins's, where 
we were very comfortably and cozily located. Soon 
after our arrival Mr.- Henry Lucas kindly offered me 
the use of a vacant house he had in the village. This 
we furnished very simply, and began housekeeping. I 
had succeeded in making many friends, as I before 
stated, and very soon I was pretty well occupied. 
We spent the year 1836 at Mount Meigs. I was con- 
tent with my position and business, expected to remain 
there, and had no intention of changing my residence. 
But, in 1837, Dr. Blakey, who practiced medicine, and 
planted on a large scale, desired to give up a part of his 
practice, and offered me a partnership. He resided 
about ten miles east of Mount Meigs, at a place in Ma- 
con County, near Cubahatchee Creek. His offer was 
so favorable that I, of course, accepted it. He at once 
introduced me into a very large practice, in the Aber- 
crombie neighborhood. The Abercrombies were all 
rich and influential, and, with Dr. Blakey's indorsement 
and their patronage, I soon had as much as I could pos- 

MY HOME. 191 

sibly do. I was exceedingly happy in my new posi- 
tion. I had a little piece of ground, upon which there 
was a log-cabin with one room, and I had an addition 
built to it, making two, and there our first two chil- 
dren were born. 


I think of abandoning the profession — A severe attack of fever — My wife 
and children ill with fever — I resolve to seek a new home — Journey 
to Lowndes County — Final determination to settle in Montgomery. 

I am an example of a man who has never achieved 
the ambition of his early life. My successes have been 
in a direction that I never dreamed of when I started. 
I had no particular interest in my profession at the be- 
ginning. I studied away at it, and at the end of five 
years had become quite a respectable physician, and, I can 
say, a tolerably successful one. Still, I was really ready, 
at any time and at any moment, to take up anything that 
offered, or that held out an inducement of fortune, be- 
cause I knew that I could never make a fortune out of 
the practice of medicine. I, of course, never dreamed of 
making any other than a local reputation. 

While I was comfortably situated with Dr. Blakey, 
and getting on so well, I received a letter from George 
Brown, of Philadelphia, who was a cousin of Miss Ed- 
munds, and whom I had known very well when I was 
a medical student there. He wrote that some capitalists 
there had offered him a credit of one hundred thousand 
dollars in Philadelphia, if he would take a stock of cloth- 


ing, go to Vicksburg, Mississippi, and set up a large 
clothing - house. He offered to make me, without any 
money consideration, a half-partner, if I would quit the 
practice of medicine and join him in this commercial 
enterprise. I immediately said, " What is the use of my 
struggling here always, for two thousand or three .thou- 
sand dollars a year, with no prospect of any advancement 
in life, when such an offer comes to me unsought and 
unsolicited ? " 

So I immediately informed Dr. Blakey of the offer, 
and of my determination to give up the profession and 
become a clothing-merchant in Yicksburg. I sold out 
my little home, got four hundred dollars for it, and was 
preparing to go to Yicksburg in the month of October 
(1838). Just as I got ready and was about to leave, I 
received news from Mr. Brown that the whole thing 
had exploded, and that he could not go to Yicksburg. 
Financial embarrassments among the men that wanted 
to set him up in business had caused the trouble. I 
had acted hastily and unwisely. I was greatly disap- 
pointed, but had nothing else to do but to return to my 
practice again. Dr. Blakey was only too glad to have 
me remain, but, having sold my house, I moved 
across the Cubahatchee Swamp, into what was called 
Cubahatchee, only about a mile and a quarter from Dr, 
Blakey's. I there w r ent to work again and in real ear- 
nest, giving up all ideas of getting rich fast. In 1839 
I had all the practice I could possibly attend to. I had 
the confidence of the community in which I lived, and 


even the affection of everybody. I was perfectly happy. 
I had a beautiful wife, whom I loved to distraction, and 
two lovely children, and was making three thousand 
dollars a year. I had a double-barreled shot-gun, a 
pointer dog, and I took life lightly. There never was 
a fellow so happy as I, and I expected to remain there 
forever. I never dreamed that any misfortune could 
ever drive me away from the place in which I was 
seemingly so firmly anchored. Everything was going 
on smoothly and carelessly, as it were. When I was 
sent for to go to a plantation to see sick negroes, I 
mounted my pony, with my gun on my shoulder, and 
my medical saddle-bags behind me, and with my dog 
trotting by my side ; so, if in galloping along through a 
piece of piney woods, or in the swamps, any small game 
made its appearance, like a covey of partridges or a 
squirrel, I would blaze away, bring down my game, dis- 
mount, secure my prize, and then I would jump on my 
horse and gallop off. I never made a visit in daytime 
that I did not succeed in bagging a partridge or squirrel, 
and sometimes a wild duck. 

The year 1839 came and went in this free and easy 
way, and 1840 also came and was passing. But it was 
a sickly year, and malarial fevers were everywhere, often 
assuming a congestive form, in which men would die 
sometimes in eight hours ; often less. It was an awful 
thing to see a man walking about to-day strong and 
well, and in the enjoyment of perfect health, suddenly 
stricken down with a little chill, going into a collapse, 


and dying in a few hours. There were many snch 
deaths as that during the summer ; more than I had 
seen any season before. 

Early in July (1840), about the 5th or 6th, as I was 
returning from Mr. Abercrombie's plantation, I felt a 
slight chill pass over me, and the sensation ran down my 
spine. I soon reached home and went to bed. There 
was a slight reaction afterward, and I did not consider 
myself a sick man. The next day I visited patients, 
had no paroxysm of fever, and did not fear any return 
of it. The next day, however, at eight o'clock in the 
morning, my wife and myself were walking in the gar- 
den, looking at the peas and beans, and other little 
things, growing so finely, when, all at once, a little 
shiver ran down my back. I went into the house and 
was put to bed. This chill increased in severity, and it 
was nothing like I had had two days before. At twelve 
o'clock, four hours from the first sensations of chilli- 
ness, I was in a complete collapse, with no pulse above 
the wrist, and a cold, clammy sweat on me, with great 
internal heat, jactitation, and labored breathing, and the 
utmost prostration — yet with my intellect clear and un- 

There was no doctor anywhere near. My wife and 
two sisters, and Mr. George Brown, who a year before 
wished to make a merchant of me, were there. They 
gave me stimulants and had me wrapped up in mus- 
tard-plasters. I felt that I was dying. There was no 
reaction ; I was rubbed and plastered, and there was 


nothing else to be done, or that could be done. I felt 
that I could possibly live but a few hours ; that I must 
certainly die. But how hard is death for the young, 
when life is full of promise ; and how hard it was 
for me to leave my wife and children, knowing that 
they would have to struggle with the cold world and 
its hardships, without much money to aid them ; for 
when we were married I had nothing, and Theresa 
had only a little. I did feel at one time that I would 
speak to her; I hated to think of her ever loving 
and marrying another man. All these thoughts came 
to me when I thought I was dying. Then I said to 
myself, " I will not be so mean as to speak to her 
and annoy her on this subject ; I will die as I am, and 
Providence will take care of her." No man ever died 
with more of the consciousness of death than I experi- 
enced then. I am sure that I was in a moribund state. 
I felt that I was sinking and disappearing from the 
world. As I lay on my back, things became smaller, 
and my wife and sisters seemed to be sinking more and 
more, and gradually to be receding from me and from 
the room. I seemed to be sinking down into a nar- 
rower and narrower and lower channel ; and then I 
would shut my eyes and immediately open them again. 
Calling reason to my aid again, I would try to discover 
the manner and secret of death; and, although but a 
second would elapse from their opening, still it seemed 
to be an eternity. I looked upward, and I thought my 
friends were twenty or thirty feet away from me. I 


could hear their voices quite distinctly and understand 
all that was said ; but I gradually sank lower, and lower, 
and lower, till I looked up through the narrow channel 
in which I lay, and I could see them fifty or one hun- 
dred feet above me. When I called again my own 
reason, I knew that I was on the same level with them. 
But I had the sensation that I was sinking lower and 
lower, getting weaker and weaker, that soon my eyes 
would be closed, and I should see them no more for- 

Almost at the last, when I seemed to be a great 
distance below my wife and sisters, I whispered, " Can 
you not make a mustard-plaster as broad as my back 
and as long ? I feel that I am dead in everything ex- 
cept my intellect, and that is so obscured that I seem 
to be a great distance below you ; and yet my senses 
tell me that I am on the same level with you." As 
quick as it could be done, the plaster was spread, just 
as I had ordered. I was rolled over, and the plaster 
was placed on the spine, from the nape of the neck, 
the whole length, and as broad as the back itself. I 
turned over upon this, and in the course of I know 
not how long — it might have been fifteen minutes, and 
it may have been an hour, for I had no way of meas- 
uring time — I felt a slight sensation of warmth in 
the region covered by the plaster. That warmth was 
agreeable ; it was not at all uncomfortable as it in- 
creased ; and, strange to say, just in proportion as the 
burning increased on the back, in just that proportion 


I seemed to experience relief. I began to improve with 
the burning ; for when it was placed there I was sink- 
ing down, down, down ; but, as the plaster began to 
burn, it resisted this sinking oppression, and I felt my- 
self gradually rising, gently, gently, gently, getting 
nearer to my wife and my sisters, until I was within 
a few feet, seemingly, of the top of a great pit, into 
which I had been sunken. After a while the burning 
increased in my back, and I looked around on the 
same level with the rest of my family. I could breathe 
freely, and I felt that life was coming back to me 
again. Strange to say, at the time I seemed to rise 
to the surface the cold, clammy sweat was beginning 
to disappear ; warmth began to return to my body gen- 
erally, and in the course of four hours it was seen that 
there was a possible chance for me to recover. I was 
in a collapse, from twelve o'clock until eight. 

By eight o'clock at night I had got a pulse; my 
skin was warm and dry, my head was clear, and I was 
saved. These were the sensations of death that I know 
I should have had if I had died. If it had not been for 
the providential application of the mustard-plaster, and 
the proper remedies, at the proper time, I should surely 
have died. 

Every day, at the same hour, my case was attended 
with dangerous symptoms ; but they were those which 
we find in new countries, "West and South, as the result 
of malarial poisoning, coming from a decomposition 
of vegetable matter in alluvial soils, which endanger 


health. The conditions are favorable to engendering 
chills under such circumstances. When they assume 
a congestive character they are pernicious, and are al- 
ways dangerous. It is uncommon for one to escape 
the third chill. I knew this, and I realized the danger 
Jn which I was placed. The chills that anticipate are 
more dangerous than those that procrastinate. My first 
chill was a little trifling thing, at eight o'clock in the 
day; the second was an enormous congestive chill at 
twelve o'clock in the morning; thus anticipating four 
hours. I feared that the next would come at four o'clock 
in the morning, or forty-four instead of forty-eight 
hours later. If it came then I knew that I must die. 

I sent a messenger at once for Dr. Holt, at Mont- 
gomery, and one of the most eminent practitioners of 
that city. He was engaged in an enormous practice. 
I had no claims upon him ; I knew him but little ; but, 
when he heard that a young brother was thus danger- 
ously ill, he left his practice and came twenty miles to 
see me. There were no railroads at that time, and he 
had to drive in his sulky to Mount Meigs. As soon as 
he got a history of my case, he said : 

" Well you must not have another chill at four 
o'clock to-morrow morning. If you do you will die. 
But we will prevent it. Thirty grains of quinine, taken 
between now and midnight, will save it. You must 
take it until you feel a little ringing sensation in your 
ears; keep your bed, keep warm, and keep up good 
courage. Above all, take the quinine ; for bed, and 


warmth, and good courage alone can not save you. 
They are only assistants to the specific remedies that 
will certainly prevent a paroxysm." 

How anxiously I looked for that four o'clock the 
next morning. At midnight I was snug and comforta- 
ble and warm, with quite a pulse and soft skin ; but I 
could not feel safe until four o'clock came. At four 
o'clock I was asleep ; but yet I could feel that the secret 
enemy was at work. To my joy, and as I expected, of 
course, I did not have a chill. At four o'clock, pre- 
cisely, my nose began bleeding, and that the ancients 
would have termed a critical discharge. The chill did 
not come. 

In a few days I was up, and in a month my wife 
was down with intermittent fever, my children were 
sick with it, my servants were attacked, I had a recur- 
rence of it, and altogether we were a sorely-afflicted 

I had been very happy there, and I thought that 
nothing in the world would ever induce me to leave 
Cubahatchee. I had everything in the world that a man 
wanted or needed to make him comfortable and happy, 
and to make him satisfied in life. But I said to myself : 
" What is life without health ? Three thousand dollars 
a year is nothing, though it is a great deal for a young 
man to earn in this day and age of the world. I would 
rather live in the piney woods, or in any place in the 
world, and be sure of health, and just have enough to 
get along with." So I counseled with my wife, and I 


said : " We can not stay here. We have good friends 
that love us dearly, and who would be sorely afflicted 
to give us up, but what is the use -of our staying here 
when we see that we must always be sick ? " 

She agreed with me, and seemed to be perfectly will- 
ing to go, though she regretted leaving friends whom 
we had made there. My first idea was to go to Lowndes 
County, where my brother-in-law, Dr. Rush Jones, re- 
sided. He practiced medicine and planted cotton exten- 
sively. He had a fine plantation ; was doing admirably 
well from every point of view. I thought I would be 
very happy in his neighborhood, as we had been boys 
together and always were bosom friends. I started off, 
very feebly, in the month of November (1840). I went 
to Montgomery, twenty miles distant, which was nearly 
half way to my brother-in-law's. There I stopped at 
" Montgomery Hall." 

I happened to be very well acquainted with Dr. 
Goff, a young man of fine family, well educated, and 
a very promising young doctor. But, while he had 
money, he also had bad habits. He was not strictly a 
drunkard, but he got drunk. He played cards, and neg- 
lected his business altogether, so that he never could have 
been expected to rise to any great eminence in his pro- 
fession, with his habits of life. He happened to stroll 
into " Montgomery Hall " just after I had arrived there. 
In the course of the conversation I told him how very 
ill I had been, how ill I was then ; that I was broken 
down with intermittent fever, and told him all about 


mj family, and that I w,- :sed up I had made up 
my mind to leave Cubahatehee. 

That is very unfortunate, 55 he said, a for I have 
never heard of a young fellow doing so well as you 
are doing there. Everybody loves you, and everybody 
- - you, and what aze the people up there 

going to do withou: What are you intending to 

do, or where are yon g ; 

"I am on my way tc Lowndes C juniy," I replied, 
my brother-in-law, Dr. Hush Jones, in search of 
a location th^:- — ::h or near him. 55 

Not to find health, are yon You will not find it 
there, my dear feHo~. I: h i worse place than where 
yon are. In place of going there to Lowndes County, 
why 1 you not locate here in Monigome: 

: : Montgomery I said. a That is impossi- 
ble. I am nothing out a little country doctor, from die 
pin; ~ ; with no money and no reputation to start 
on, and a family of children dependent upon me, and I 
mutt go to some place where it would be easier to get 
practice, and where people would be obliged to employ 
me, wl dshed to or not. And besides, you 

have too many great doctors here in the profession, and 
I would ?LoTve to death with you. 5 ' 

"O, no. Dr. Sims, you would not," he quickly re- 
plied ; " you would not starve to death. You are a 
man of industry, and such application, such courage, and 
don to your profession as you have shown, 
rest assured, old fellow, would soon be appreciated in 


Montgomery. You would make hosts of friends and a 
place among us here ; and, what is more, you would hold 
it too. You had better think of what I am telling you, 
and if you must leave where you are, where you seem 
to be so pleasantly located, and where you are loved, 
and respected, and honored, think seriously of coming 
to Montgomery, and not of spending your time in such 
a place as Lowndes County, with your brother-in-law." 

It had never occurred to me to think of going 
to Montgomery. I was too diffident of myself, and 
too modest in my aspirations, to dream of looking so 
high, and that in a city which was full of older men, 
high up in their profession. So I left the very next 
morning for Lowndes County. But I could not get rid 
of the idea that Joe Goff had put into my mind. It 
haunted me all the way that I went, and all the next day. 
When I neared my brother-in-law's house, every cabin 
that we passed had sick people in it. Everybody looked 
as if he was malarially poisoned. I went by no house 
where there was not one or more beds stretched out 
before the door, with servants fanning some members 
of the family that were down sick with the malarial or 
intermittent fever. 

I arrived at my brother-in-law's house, and found 
that he was in a nest of intermittent fever. His negroes 
were sick, and he was not well himself. His overseer 
was sick, and there was sickness everywhere around. 
That satisfied me that I must not think of locating there ; 
that I might just as well remain where I was at Cuba- 


hatchee as to come down to Lowndes County. Joseph 
Goff s idea about coming to Montgomery had lifted me 
so up out of myself that I could not very well get rid 
of it. I went home and had a consultation with my 
wife. She saw the situation at once, and immediately 
said, " Montgomery is the place, and to Montgomery we 
will go." 

I was greatly elated about it, and still I was very 
unhappy at the idea of leaving Cubahatchee. I was 
really afraid to tell the Abercrombies — Charles, Milo, 
and John, three brothers — that I was going to leave. I 
dreaded to leave them. I managed to let them find out 
my plans through the neighbors, for I knew that we 
would have a scene. Two days after, Milo Abercrombie 
came to my house. I saw him in the distance and I 
knew what he was coming for. He hitched his horse to 
the fence, and walked into the house where my wife and 
children were, looking like a mad bear. He said, gruffly, 
"Good morning." 

I said, pleasantly, " Good morning, Mr. Abercrom- 

He said, " I have just come down to see if you have 
lost your senses. I am told that you are going away 
from here." 

I replied that there was too much sickness there for 
me. He retorted by asking me where I expected to 
get away from sickness, and, if I did find such a place, 
how I expected to live. " Look here, old fellow," he 
continued, " are you a fool ? I have come here to give 


you a piece of my mind. You have friends here that 
love you and who do not want to give you up. Of 
course we are a little bit selfish in this, but we have an 
interest in you, and want to see you do well in this 
world, for you are worthy of it. If you go to Mont- 
gomery, and settle down there with your family, expect- 
ing to support yourself by practicing, and with nothing 
else to support yourself — if you expect that, you will be 
very much mistaken. I advise you to le't well enough 
alone, and stay where you are, among us, where you will 
be well taken care of and live like a lord, honored, and 
respected, and beloved, with plenty to do and everything 
flourishing around you. What more can a man want in 
this world ? You must not leave us." 

I said, " Milo, I am very sorry to leave you and go to 
Montgomery. But I have had a consultation with my 
good adviser, in whose judgment I put the utmost confi- 
dence — my wife. We have thought seriously about this 
matter. It is not a sudden or impulsive thing, my wife 
and I having reasoned it out together. We have made 
up our minds to go to Montgomery. We leave with a 
great many regrets, and with many thanks for all the 
kindnesses you have shown us since we have been here. 
You will always find us to be grateful to you, for you 
have been friends to us when we needed friends." 

Still, Mr. Abercrombie was not satisfied. Suffice it 
to say, that we got ready and removed to Montgomery. 
Mr. Cromelin, a very eminent lawyer, whom I had 
known favorably before I went to Montgomery, when 


I was the family physician of Mr. Lucas and his wife 
at Mount Meigs, Mr. Cromelin's wife being a niece of 
Mr. Lucas, was prepared to welcome us to Montgomery 
at once, and promised us his practice. He gave me a 
handsome house to live in at a rent of three hundred 
dollars a year, feeling very sure that he would have to 
pay me that much money, so that the rent of the house 
would be paid for in practice. 

We went into this house on my favorite 13th day 
of the month of December (1840). We had no money, 
and always lived from hand to mouth. Everything was 
on the credit system in that day and time. Nobody had 
any money but once a year, when the cotton crop was 
sold and went to market, the first of January. This was 
a settling time with everybody. So when I went to 
Montgomery everybody was willing to give me credit 
for dry-goods, groceries, etc., and whatever I might need. 
Everybody else was in the same fix. At the end of the 
year we had to settle. Well, unfortunately, the day after 
we entered the house, my poor wife had a chill, and 
I don't think she saw a well day for six months. In 
the course of twelve months from the date of my first 
attack of congestive chills, I had seventeen different 
attacks. They recurred at periods varying from two 
to three and four weeks. We were all completely ma- 
larialized and demoralized. The negroes were also sick. 
Strangely enough to say, my two sisters escaped, neither 
of them having intermittent fever. 

I lived a whole year in Montgomery, most of the time 


in bed. By-and-by, my health began to improve. At 
the end of two years, I was getting into practice among 
the rich people of the city. I had the Cromelins, the 
Pollards, the Balls, and others. These belonged to the 
upper-crust ; and the fact of my being physician of these 
aristocratic families naturally interested others. But 
really, I had to begin at the very bottom. The first 
people who took me up were "free niggers." 

Finally, I became physician to the Jewish popula- 
tion of the town, of which there were several families. 
They were people who always had money in plenty, and 
were liberal with it. They were very clannish, and as one 
or two of the leaders would go, so all the rest followed. 
I had all this Jewish practice, which was a large and 
agreeable one. 

I was the first man at the South that had ever 
successfully treated club-foot. I was also the first man 
that had ever performed an operation for strabismus, 
or cross-eyes. At the end of five years, I had estab- 
lished a reputation as a judicious practitioner and as a 
skillful surgeon, and was getting as much as I could do. 
Montgomery had always had an able set of medical men. 
They were talented, and I never saw a town where there 
was so little bickering and jealousy between doctors. A 
few valuable and able men at the head of the profession 
kept the others in the proper line, and in the right way, 
so that their influence was salutary. When head men 
fall out, the small men follow. There were not many 
small men among the profession in Montgomery. They 


were nearly all men of the highest character as gen- 
tlemen, and they were skillful physicians besides of 
learning and ability. The leading men of the day were 
Drs. Holt, McCloud, Ames, McTThorter and Henry, and 
all of them were busy, with as much as they could do. 
Each had a successful practice, and there were never 
too many doctors for the work to be done. The men 
of my own age were Drs. Bowling, Baldwin, Birney and 


Numerous surgical cases — Successful treatment of a hare-lip — I write a de- 
scription of the case for the " Dental Journal " — I am induced by Dr. 
Ames to publish accounts of all my surgical cases — My dislike for 
compositions at college, and an experience in consequence. 

The year 1845 was a memorable era in my life. 
It seemed to be a turning-point in my career. Up 
to the time that I went to Mount Meigs, I was willing to 
turn aside to do anything excepting to practice medicine. 
But when I went to Montgomery, I gave away my dog 
and sold my gun. I have never loaded and shot a gun 
since. I devoted myself to my profession, determined to 
do my best in it. I had an ambition for surgery — gen- 
eral surgery — and performed all sorts of beautiful and 
brilliant operations. This was before the days of anaes- 
thetics. I had made, in five or six years, such a reputa- 
tion for surgery that people came to me from forty miles 
off. Sick people were brought to me sometimes from 
the country, by those who would bring in a bale of cot- 
ton or two on a cart, and a sick patient would be brought 
along also. That was a reputation worth having. I was 
proud of it — I was very happy over it. 

I had surgical cases of all sorts coming to me from 

the country around. I was reiy successful as a surgeon. 
In l^ie latter part of ISM, there eame to my office one 
day a young woman from Lowndes County, who was 

:*:•:-: :lirrr :Li Sie iii :i i ::i:ir :i::i v^ 
bine, folded double. She could not snow herself in the 
-::—:. =•: lii^:~= — 1= -ir. Sir — ii>ec iii: 117 :z::r 
with her face veiled, and said: 

" I have beard of your achievements in surgery, Dr. 
Sims, and I bare come to see if you could do anything 
for me. 1 was born with a hare-lip, and I am so ugly 
that I have bad to wear a veil to prevent my face from. 

I said, " rliise your veil, ani ; _:~ me : se 

_t: =."_■= riiie ::. lie fU*i: ~i= iirrizl-r. Ii 

never seen sueb a bad ease of hare-lip before. It was 

r. iriii^' '. :: ir.i: "_t ri: :: ier i:ii ~i= : ^::".: 
"-. :ir — i fi:i: — n: :::_ "It i; ei: :: ic: i ise lien 
~i= Fin., i ".r :r : : ; i.i. - - - -_-_ -~ : •-.; -_: ;:' :: i;-: 
ii_- ".: : i:i^' L:".-: :- '. - •" _ "■'..-: : -i i 111 

i : i: :ee:l. :il I ::il: !:•:£ -- : i:~i icr :1: 
A_::rr"_7:. _r: ni_f ::i_:~::i ~~ 1= zi^i:: 
I said, K I can curi i:::l" 

"You eanf 9 she eagerly replied, as a ray of hope 

llr llllrc IrJ. 

I sii-L ■•Cfr-iiilj: I — iZ r>e - : - * --- =* : ■_-_ 
M-i:!. =•: in: 7:1 :n ei: lire ::ler :iii ni ~1ii.l1, 
if 7: 1 ~n: " : . 1: 7:1 ~__ n : ~ :ie ~me : i lie =■: ::- 
e~7 111 iiri::ii:i ::' 7:1: in':." 

: '_ 1 t 1 : Vt : : i 11:111 


she was entirely cured. She had a very presentable 
mouth, and Dr. Belangee, who was the leading dentist 
of the town, took a cast of the roof of her mouth, and 
made her a set of four handsome teeth. When he had 
finished his part of the work, she was a very presentable 
.person indeed, and really a pretty woman. Her life, of 
course, was enlivened and revolutionized. 

The curing of this woman from Lowndes County was 
of itself a very small affair, but it was the 'beginning of 
one of my little life stories, and plays a by no means 
unimportant part in it. The plaster cast made by Dr. 
Belangee for the roof of the woman's mouth was given 
to me, and for some time it lay on my mantel-piece. 
Everybody who came in looked at it, and I said, " That 
is the plaster cast of Miss So-and-so's mouth, of Lowndes 
County." Dr. Harris, of Baltimore, the founder of the 
Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, the first of the 
kind in this country or the world, and his friend Dr. 
Lipscomb, came to visit Montgomery in the year 1846. 
Through the Lipscomb interest in the county and among 
the wealthy classes, Dr. Harris was called to so many of 
the aristocratic families that for two or three months he 
entirely displaced my friend Dr. Belangee. He was a 
magnificent man, of fine physical beauty, a gentleman 
of great intellect, great kindness of heart, and a very 
accomplished dentist. He was perhaps the very best of 
that day in the world. 

One day he strolled into my office. I had been to 
call on him, and he returned it. Having an eye quick 


to discern anything pertaining to his profession, he 
walked up to the mantel, and picked up the plaster cast 
lying there. 

" Doctor, what is this ? " he asked, after he had looked 
it over carefully, and examined the wonderful cast. I 
gave him a history of the case, as above related. " I will 
tell you what, Dr. Sims, I would like you to do. I would 
like you to write an account of it for the September num- 
ber of my ' Journal of Dental Surgery.' " 

I said, "Doctor, I can't write anything. I never 
wrote anything in my life." 

" But," he said, " write it as you would talk it, or as 
you have told it to me. That is all ; I will risk you." 

" I should be ashamed," I said, " to see anything of 
mine in print. I am counted as a great worker, to be 
sure, and I always keep notes of my cases ; but I can not 
write. I never wrote anything in my life. It is not my 

He insisted, however, and I sat down and wrote a 
history of the case in the simplest manner possible, and 
gave it to him. I was ashamed of it, however, when I 
gave it to him. In the course of two or three months 
after I had written the article, Dr. Harris sent me a 
number of the " Journal of Dental Surgery," containing 
my article, and a little wood-cut illustrating the plaster 
cast. I read the article, and was ashamed of it, and de- 
termined that I would not show it to any of my medical 
brethren. I arrived at this conclusion because there were 
a number of literati among them ; and, though I was not 


ashamed or afraid to perform any operation before them, 
or even in the presence of the best of them, still I did 
not feel that I was competent to write ; especially when 
compared to Ames, or Bowling, or Baldwin. 

Bowling was a most voluminous writer. He had 
^written some really valuable and meritorious articles 
for the medical literature of the country, which marked 
the era in which he lived, and which have been incor- 
porated into the literature of the profession, especially 
his articles on the "Endemic Diseases of the South." 
He had also written on fevers, pneumonia, and had 
discussed a variety of surgical questions. But the man 
that I feared was Ames. Of course, I was on the most 
friendly terms with all the doctors in Montgomery. 
Ames was a man that everybody respected, but whom 
nobody loved very much. On the contrary, they were 
all rather afraid of him. He had the best practice of 
the country. He was a quiet, dignified, reticent, skillful 
man, who filled a very useful and prominent place in 
his profession. His opinion was sought on all questions, 
and on all occasions of great importance ; and no man in 
high life ever died, in any other physician's hands, un- 
less Dr. Ames was called in consultation. 

I liked and admired him, and I also feared him. He 
was hypercritical, especially in literary matters. I was 
not afraid to perform any operation before him, because 
I was a surgeon, and he was not. He took a kindly in- 
terest in me and patronized me. He at one time offered 
me a partnership, but I was too smart to take it. I saw 


that lie had an immense practice, but as I had as much 
as I could do, and the work was growing, I had only to 
eliminate the least desirable part of my practice as it in- 
creased among the higher walks of life. Dr. Ames was 
enjoying the full fruition of all that he could have 
achieved. I knew that, if I accepted a partnership, I 
would be compelled to do all his country work, which 
would break me down. As I was doing well enough, I 
wisely concluded to let well enough alone, and suggested 
as a suitable partner in my stead another young man in 
town who had nothing to do, and whom he afterward 

Well, when the " Journal " arrived I read the article, 
and I determined that Ames should not see it, nor Bald- 
win, nor Bowling, nor anybody else. I knew that there 
was not another copy of the work taken in the city. I 
walked into my library, which, by the way, had increased 
beyond the seven volumes of Eberle, and stepped up to 
my book-case, and on a shelf, level with my eye, pulled 
out a large volume, and put the " Dental Journal," be- 
hind it, standing it up on its edge, behind the books on 
the shelf, with the flat surface to the wall. I then re- 
placed the book in its proper position. Some months 
after this, Dr. Ames happened to walk into my office ; he 
had called to make me a social visit, as we frequently 
exchanged neighborly visits. After we had talked over 
endemic diseases and the other topics of the day, he 
walked up to the book-case, with the inquiry, " Have you 
got in any new books lately ? " I said " No." I stood 


there, and lie looked at all the books on the shelf, and 
pulled out, with his left hand, the very identical one 
behind which I had hidden the "Dental Journal" six 
months before. As he pulled it out, his quick eye saw 
something in a new cover hidden away. While he held 
^the book with his left hand, he reached up with his right 
and pulled out the offending " Journal," of which I had 
been so choice, and which I had resolved that no one 
should see. If anybody had told him, he could not 
have gone more deliberately to the place and found it. 
To-day, it is the most unexplainable thing that ever hap- 
pened to me. He did not look into the large book, but 
he held in his hand the fresh " Dental Journal," and 
commenced turning over the leaves, one after the other. 
He had never seen the " Dental Journal " before, and it 
excited his curiosity, so that he became very much in- 
terested in it, and all the more interested because it was 

I said to myself, " My God ! if he goes on in this way, 
he will come to the article on the ' Lowndes County 
Girl's Hare-Lip,' and he will give me fits." I was trem- 
bling like a leaf, as I stood there like a schoolboy. 
Still he stood there, turning over leaf after leaf, and, 
when he got to where the case was described, he did 
not look up at all, or say a word, but stood there, reading 
it down on the first page, and then on the other page, 
deliberately reading it through. It just occupied two 
pages. My heart was in my throat. As he finished the 
article he stood perfectly still, and I also stood perfectly 


still, trembling. As he turned around I thought, "I 
shall get it now." 

In a moment he said, " What would I give if I had 
the faculty of expressing myself in writing like that ? " 

I said : " My dear doctor, you have lifted a great 
load from my heart. Here I have been bewildered all 
this time, and you have frightened me almost to death, 
and I don't know what you mean." 

" I have never read a thing so natural in my life as 
your description of the case," he replied ; " I could not 
write that way to save my life. What I do write is la- 
bored ; but what you write comes natural, it seems. Now 
let me give you a piece of advice. I have seen you per- 
form many beautiful operations, and many difficult ones, 
and, as long as you have this power, I advise you to 
report them for the press. Seeing that you are so timid, 
and lack confidence in yourself, if you will send your 
productions to me, I shall be very glad to make such sug- 
gestions as are necessary, and to return them to you for 
your consideration." I accepted his generous proposition ; 
and, but for the encouragement that Dr. Ames gave me, 
I would not have written anything at all ; for I was not 
aware that I possessed any capacity in that direction. 

When I was a boy at school, I never could write 
compositions, and I had a good many scoldings, and one 
or two thrashings very nearly, because of that neglect. 
Somehow or other I always begged off, and got away 
from composition writing. I always felt quite ashamed 
of myself ; for the other boys in the school could write 


compositions on any given subject, while I could not 
write a word. It was impossible for me to put my ideas 
on paper on any subject assigned to me. I supposed they 
were always mere abstractions, about which I knew little 
or nothing. I had an instinctive propensity to write too 
long, without being able to represent any lengthy dis- 
quisitions on the subjects. When I went to college 
every man was expected in the senior year to write 
five compositions. Nothing was required of -the juniors 
in this line. These iive compositions had to be pre- 
sented before the close of the summer term, or the sum- 
mer vacation, which was generally about the first of 
July. I passed through my senior year without hav- 
ing to write a single one. When I returned in Octo- 
ber, to begin the studies preparatory to graduation in 
December, Professor Henry, who had supervision of the 
composition department, sent for me. He had a colored 
man by the name of Jim, whom the boys in the college 
called " Sheriff Jim." He was the man of the faculty, 
and carried all their messages and notes. One day 
" Sheriff Jim " came to my room about the middle of 
October. He said, " Professor Henry wants to see you, 
and he is waiting in his study now, in the library." 

I said : " What does Professor Henry want of me, 
Jim ? What in the world does he want ? " 

" I don't know, sah," he replied ; " he sent me over 

to tell you that he wanted to see you at his room, 

and you got to go." So there was nothing left but for 

me to obey the command, and I put on my hat and 


went along with " Sheriff Jim." It happened that there 
were a good many boys standing ont on the campns, and 
in the door- ways, and looking ont of the windows, and 
when they saw me following after " Sheriff Jim " they 
wondered what under the heavens I eonld have been 
doing to make it necessary to call me before the f aeiL - 
When I appeared before his angnst highness, Professor 
Henry, he bluntly remarked: 

*• Mr. Sims, according to the rules of the college, and 
according to its requirements, yon are expected to write 
five compositions for your senior year, between the first 
of January and the last of June. In looking over the 
list, I find that you hare not written one. How i> ;: 
that yon have not complied with the rules of the col- 
lege ? " 

I said : " Sir, I have never felt able to write a com- 
position which would be creditable, and I did not think 
it was worth while to send one to you that was not of 
some value." 

He said, " Yonr record has been excellent except in 
this particular. There are due from you to the college 
five compositions, and, as yon are on the eve of gradua- 
tion, you must give a good deal of yonr time to the 
preparation for it. I will be Yery lenient toward yon, 
Mr. Sims, and, if you will send me two compositions this 
week, I will consider that you have complied with the 
rules of the college. Yon can go, sir," he said ; " nnless 
you comply with this requirement, yon can not go for- 
ward in yonr graduation." 


I bowed myself out, and went, without the " Sher- 
iffs " accompanying me there, to my own room, and I 
had resolved in my own mind that I would write no 
compositions. As I walked through the campus, back 
to my own room, a little humiliated by being " trained " 
before the faculty, as it were, the boys were all on the 
lookout for me, and they said : " What in the world 
have you done to be taken before the faculty to be 
trained for ? and what have you had to be taken oft* by 
the < Sheriff 'for?" 

" I haven't complied with the rules of the college in 
composition writing," I replied. 

John Rice was from Union district, and my junior by 
nearly two years. We were very good friends. He was 
very much devoted to me, and he said, " Well, Marion, 
you know that you have got to write the compositions." 

I said, " John, I am not going to write a composition. 
I can not and will not, and I will see the college and Pro- 
fessor Henry in purgatory before I write one." 

He said, " But, Marion, you are unreasonable. Pro- 
fessor Henry is obliged to insist on your compliance, and 
he has asked you to do so on certain conditions. He 
has let you off very mildly indeed." 

I replied, " John, you are very kind, bnt I can not 
write one, and I do not intend to try to do it." 

" Well," he said, " if you do not, you will not gradu- 
ate. He is obliged to be as good as his word, and he 
will not allow you to come forward to receive your de- 
gree. It would be disgraceful for you to go home with- 

■_-2\ ihz -: ::.t :r lt i:rz 

out tout diploma. What would your father and the 
world say about it 

I replied, u John, I don't care a cent what anybody 
says. I do not intend to write a composition. If I can 
not pass on my merits as a scholar, I don't think that I 
could do it by having written a few compositions. I have 
said that I will not do it, and I will not," 

John Kiee felt very unhappy about the matter, as he 
was exceedingly interested in me. The next morning he 
came down and happening to see a Sheriff Jim " going 
along the campus he beckoned to him to follow him. 
On reaching my room he said : " See here, Marion, don't 
be a d — d fool any longer. A= I do not want to see yon 
miss your graduation, I have just written two composi- 

ns for you on l Memory/ and I have signed your name 

both of them. Of course Professor Henry will never 
read them, and I am going to send them to him, so that 
yon have complied with the spirit of the law. Ton 
haven't written five, but you have got two." The u Sher- 
iff " was called in, and John Sice said: u Here, Jim, wfll 
yon have the kindness to take these papers over to Pro- 
fessor Henry, with the compliments of Marion Sims, and 
say to him that they are his compositions which he prom- 

i to write last night. 9 ' Jim took the papers, and that 
was the last that I ever heard about the five compositions. 
Of course Professor Henry never read them, or criticised 
them, and he didn't care a cent whether I ever wrote 
them or not, but was obliged to enforce the rules of 
the college in that respect. 


So it was that I always felt timid about writing, and 
never dreamed that I could write until the circumstance 
related, in connection with my friend Dr. Ames. Even 
to this day the finding of that "Dental Journal" is in- 
explicable to me. I do not believe there are any acci- 
dents in this world. I do not look upon that as an 
accident, but as a Providential affair. However, I acted 
on the suggestion of my friend Dr. Ames, and imme- 
diately began to write out the histories of my surgical 
cases, which he suggested to me that I should do. I sent 
them to him for criticism, and in a day or two he would 
return them to me. I was very much surprised that he 
found so little to criticise, and what few suggestions and 
criticisms and alterations he had to make. He made no 
alterations that were of any great importance. I con- 
tinued to write articles and send them to him, and he 
was very kind always in looking over them, and making 
corrections when they were necessary. He always wrote 
me a little note, very kindly worded, for me to preserve, 
and saying that it was hardly necessary for me to send 
my papers to him for him to read. This was, as I have 
already said, in the year 1845, and it was also an event- 
ful year to me in my professional career. 


An interesting case of trismus nascentiuin — Hy discovery of the cause of 
the disease — Case of vesico-vaginal fistula — An accidental discovery 
— A series of experimental operations — Disappointments and final 

In April (1845) Mr. Henry Stickney, having a plan- 
tation near Montgomery and a residence in the suburbs 
of the town, called at my house about tea-time, as he fre- 
quently did, to make a social visit, and took occasion to 
say that his negro woman, Sally, had recently been con- 
fined with twins, and that one of them was very ill. He 
said that it had spasms, and could not suck, and he 
said that he would like to have me go out and see the 
babe. After asking him a few questions, as we talked 
the matter over, I made up my mind what was the mat- 
ter, and I said : " Mr. Stickney, the baby has what we 
call trismus nascentium, or lock-jaw, and it is always 
fatal, no case as yet ever having been cured. I can do 
the child no good ; but, as a study, I will come out to 
see it and investigate the case. But I can do nothing 
for it at all." 

So I went to the house, as I agreed, and found the 
child lying in a cradle, on its back. It had been in 


spasms for two days and nights, and looked as if it were 
dying. Its respiration was very rapid, and the pulse 
could hardly be counted. Touching it would throw it 
into convulsions ; laying it on its face it would cause 
spasms; any noise would produce them. It could not 
swallow, could take no nourishment, and it was impossi- 
ble for it to suck. It was covered with a cold, clammy 
perspiration ; its hands were tightly clinched, so that the 
finger-nails were almost cutting into the -flesh on the 
palms of its hands. The legs and arms were as stiff as a 
poker, and the whole body was rigid, because of tonic con- 
traction, and every few minutes there would be spasms 
independent of the tonic contraction. Its face was drawn 
around so that it wore a sort of sardonic grin. Alto- 
gether, the picture was a disagreeable one to look upon. 
After examining the child for a while, I ran my hand 
under its head to raise it up from the deep cradle in 
which it lay. I raised the child, and found it as stiff as 
could be, and, instead of bending, it came up like raising 
a pair of tongs, in its rigid condition. While in the act 
of raising it, my hand detected a remarkable irregularity 
in the relations of the bones of the head. I sat the child 
against my knee, because it was so stiff that it could not 
sit on it, and began to examine its head. At the back 
of the head I found that the occipital bone was pushed 
under deeply on the brain, and the edges of it, along 
the lambdoidal suture, were completely overlapped by 
the projecting edges of the parietal bones. This was 
certainly the most unnatural thing that I had seen, and 


I immediately suspected that the spasms, both tonie 
and clonic, were the result of mechanical pressure on 
the base of the brain, effected by the dislocation of 
this bone by the child lying on its back. It took some 
minutes for me to make this examination. After I 
became thoroughly familiar with the physical condition 
observed, I turned my attention again to the child, and 
was surprised to find that by the erect posture removing 
the pressure from the base of the brain the pulse could 
be counted, and that the respiration had fallen from one 
hundred and twenty to about seventy. 

As a matter of course, the child died. The next day 
we held a post-mortem examination. The case was one 
of so much importance that I invited Drs. Ames, Bald- 
win, Bowling, and half a dozen other medical men to be 
present at the post-mortem. I was convinced that the 
meehanical pressure on the base of the brain had pro- 
duced all the symptoms I had seen ; but what I wanted 
to find was this : what was the rationale of that pressure ? 
In making a post-mortem examination, we found that 
the spinal marrow was surrounded by a coagulum of 
blood — extravasation of blood between the spinal mar- 
row and its membranes. I thought that this was the 
cause of all the symptoms, and I published an article 
on the subject, in which I elaborated a very ingenious 
theory going to show that the compression at the base of 
the brain had strangulated the spinal veins in such a way 
that the blood could not be returned from the spinal 
column, and had therefore burst through its thin ve& 


sels. Subsequent experience, however, compelled me to 
modify this view of the case, and I wrote a second arti- 
cle on the subject, showing that this extravasation was 
not the cause of the disease, but was the result, and that 
the child might not have died of trismus nascentium had 
it been laid on its side, where the pressure could be 
removed from the base of the brain. As a matter of 
course, the treatment of a case of trismus nascentium is 
not by medicine, but when it is produced by mechanical 
causes of this sort it is simply by a lateral position that 
takes the pressure from the base of the brain. Such 
cases should be placed first upon one side and then upon 
the other, and should never be put in a cradle or crib at 
all. A new-born child especially should be placed upon 
a pillow, lengthwise of the pillow. If this were done 
always, there would be no cases of trismus nascentium. 
I have seen a great many desperate cases cured in a few 
minutes' time, simply by placing the patient on the side. 
But, as I have written this subject up, in part, in another 
treatise, it is not worth while to dilate upon it further 
here. My doctrines in respect to the pathology and 
treatment of trismus nascentium have not been adopted 
or accepted by the profession at large ; but I am satisfied 
that they are true. They have been adopted by a few 
doctors, here and there, and many cases of trismus nas- 
centium have been cured, which were reported in the 
medical journals of the country. Dr. , of Ander- 
son, South Carolina, reported in the " American Journal 
of Medical Science " for April, 1875, a dozen cases that 


lie had cured ; whereas, before my discovery, medical lit- 
erature had not reported a single case of trismus nascen- 
tium having been cured on any recognized principle ap- 
plicable to any other case. Truth travels slowly, but I 
am sure that I am right — as sure as I can be of anything. 
This will yet be fully understood and appreciated by the 

I consider this my first great discovery in medicine. 
The next occurred only two months later. I had been a 
doctor now about ten years. I had established a good, 
solid reputation as a surgeon, and surgical cases were 
coming to me every day from all parts of the country. 
I was also considered a successful family practitioner. I 
was perfectly satisfied with my position and prospects. 
I had nothing whatever to do with midwifery, excepting 
when called in consultation with Dr. McWhorter or Dr. 
Henry, or some of the older doctors, who wished me to 
perform some delicate surgical operation. I never pre- 
tended to treat any of the diseases of women, and if any 
woman came to consult me on account of any functional 
derangement of the uterine system, I immediately re- 
plied, " This is out of my line ; I do not know anything 
about it practically, and I advise you to go to Dr. Henry 
or Dr. McWhorter." 

Early in the month of June (1845) Dr. Henry asked 
me to go out to Mr. Wescott's, only a mile from the 
town, to a case of labor which had lasted three days and 
the child not yet born. He said, " I am thinking that 
you had better take your instruments along with you, for 


you may want to use them." We found a young colored 
woman, about seventeen years of age, well developed, 
who had been in labor then seventy-two hours. The 
child's head was so impacted in the pelvis that the labor- 
pains had almost entirely ceased. It was evident that 
matters could not long remain in this condition without 
the system becoming exhausted, and without the pressure 
producing a sloughing of the soft parts of the mother. 
So I agreed with Dr. Henry that the sooner she was de- 
livered the better, and without any great effort the child 
was brought away with forceps. She rallied from the 
confinement and seemed to be getting on pretty well, 
until about five days after her delivery, when Dr. Henry 
came to see me, and said that there was an extensive 
sloughing of the soft parts, the mother having lost con- 
trol of both the bladder and the rectum. Of course, aside 
from death, this was about the worst accident that could 
have happened to the poor young girl. I went to see 
her, and found an enormous slough, spreading from the 
posterior wall of the vagina, and another thrown off 
from the anterior wall. The case was hopelessly incur- 

I went home and investigated the literature of the 
subject thoroughly and fully. Then, seeing the master 
of the servant the next day, I said: "Mr. Wescott, 
Anarcha has an affection that unfits her for the duties 
required of a servant. She will not die, but will never 
get well, and all you have to do is to take good care of 
her so long as she lives." Mr. Wescott was a kind-hearted 


man. a good roaster, and. accepting the situation, made 
np his mind that Anarcha should have an easy time in 
this world as long as she lived. 

I had practiced medicine ten years, and had never 
before seen a case of vesico- vaginal fistula. I looked 
upon it as a surgical curiosity, although a very unfor- 
tunate one. Strange to sav, in one month from that time 
Dr. Harris, from Lowndes County, came to see me, and 
he said: u Well, doctor, one of my servant girls, Be" 
a young woman seventeen or eighteen years old, married 
last year, had a baby about a month ago. Since then she 
has not been able to hold a single drop of water." 

I replied, *• I am very sorry, doctor, but nothing can 
be done for her. There is a similar case here in town.*' 

He said, *• I thought mvself it was incurable. But I 
am going to tell my overseer to send her up to you to- 
morrow and let you examine her case." So the next day 
Betsey came, and I examined her. The base of the blad- 
der was destroyed, and her case was certainly a very mis- 
erable one. I kept her a day or two in Montgomery and 
then sent her home, writing a note to the doctor, giving 
him my opinion of the case and its incurability. I sup- 
| : Bed that I shoidd never see another case of vesicovagi- 
nal fistula. 

About another month after this, however, Mr. Tom 
Zimmerman, of Macon County, called on me. I was his 
family physician when I lived in Cubahatchee. but I had 
not seen him since I left there, four or five years be- 
fore. He besran immediatelv bv saving that his neprro 


girl, Lucy, about eighteen years old, had given birth to a 
child two months ago, and that since that time she had 
been unable to hold any water. 

I said, " Tom, I know all about this case, and there is 
no doctor in this town or country who can afford any 
relief. I have just been reading up the subject ; I have 
consulted all the authorities I can find in every doctor's 
library in this city. She has fistula in the bladder — a 
hole in it. It may be no larger than a pipe-stem, or it 
may be as large as two or three inches in diameter ; but, 
whether big or little, the urine runs all the time; it 
makes no odds what position she is in, whether asleep or 
awake, walking or standing, sitting or lying down. The 
case is absolutely incurable. I don't want to see her or 
the case. You need not send her to town. I have just 
seen two cases, one in this town, and another that was 
sent to me from Lowndes County, and I have sent the 
last one back because there is no hope for it." 

" Is there no chance for your being mistaken about 
the case, without having seen it ? " 

I said, "No, there is no chance for me to be mis- 
taken. It is absolutely incurable." 

"Are you not disposed to investigate it," he said, 
" and see if there is not some chance % " 

I said, " No, I don't want to see it," 

"But you would have done so before you moved 
from the piney woods and came to the city. Moving 
to a city sets a man up wonderfully. You are putting 
on airs. When you were my family doctor, and used to 


see in j family or my niggers, you never objected to an 
investigation of their cases, and you didn't say what you 
would do and what not. I am going to send Lucy in, 
"What day do you want her to come down \ n 

I said, ; * I don't want to see her. I can do her no 

" "Well;''' said he, a I am going to send her down to 
you at your office, by [Monday's train, whether yon want 
to see her or not.'' And so, sure enough, Monday came, 
and Lucy was at my office. I had a little hospital of 
eight beds, built in the corner of my yard, for taking 
care of my negro patients and for negro surgical cases ; 
and so when Lucy came I gave her a bed. . As soon as I 
could get to her I examined the case very minutely. I 
told her that I was unable to do anything for her, and I 
Bald, " To-morrow afternoon I shall have to send you 
home.'' She was very much disappointed, for her con- 
dition was loathsome, and she was in hopes that she 
could be cured. I told her that she must go home on 
the next afternoon. 

It was my usual habit to start off at nine o'clock to 
visit my patients, and I seldom had less than from eight- 
een to twentv visits to make in a morning. Just as I 
was starting off, and was about to get into my buggy, a 
little nigger came running to the office and said, a Massa 
doctor. Mrs. Merrill done been throwed from her pony, 
and is mighty badly hurt, and you must go down there 
right off to see her. just as soon as you can get there." 
So, as this was a surgical case, and not knowing whether 


it was a fractured limb or a broken skull, I looked upon 
it as a case of urgency, and instead of making my usual 
morning round, I started upon " the hill," three fourths 
of a mile, to see old Mrs. Merrill. She was not an old 
woman, but she was the wife of a dissipated old man, 
who was supposed to be of not much account, as he was 
gambling and leading an otherwise disreputable life. 
Mre. Merrill, however, was a respectable woman who ob- 
tained a living by washing and taking in sewing, and 
was much appreciated and respected among her neigh- 
bors. She was about forty-six years of age, stout and fat, 
and weighed nearly two hundred pounds. She had been 
riding along on a pony, and when within about fifty 
yards of her own house a hog lying by the roadside, in 
the corner of the fence, jumped out and made a noise 
that frightened the pony, and it sprang from under the 
rider. She fell with all her weight on the pelvis. She 
had no broken bones. She was in bed, complaining of 
great pain in her back, and a sense of tenesmus in both 
the bladder and rectum, the bearing down making her 
condition miserable. 

If there was anything I hated, it was investigating 
the organs of the female pelvis. But this poor woman 
was in such a condition that I was obliged to find out 
what was the matter with her. It was by a digital ex- 
amination, and I had sense enough to discover that there 
was retroversion of the uterus. It was half turned up- 
side down, and I took it for granted that this sudden 
dislocation, or disturbance of the pelvic organs, was the 


result of the fall on the pelvis. The question was, what 
I should do to relieve her. I remembered, when a 
medical student in Charleston Medical College, that 
old Dr. Prioleau used to saj : " Gentlemen, if any of 
you are ever called to a case of sudden version of 
the uterus backward, you must place the patient on 
the knees and elbows — in a genu -pectoral position — 
and then introduce one finger into the rectum and 
another into the vagina, and push up, and pull down; 
and, if you don't get the uterus in position by this 
means, you will hardly effect it by any other." This 
piece of information at the time it was given went into 
one ear and out at the other. I never expected to have 
any use for it. Strangely enough, all that Professor 
Prioleau said came back to me at once when the case 
was presented. So I placed the patient as directed, with 
a large sheet thrown over her. I could not make up my 
mind to introduce my finger into the rectum, because 
only a few days before that I had had occasion to ex- 
amine the rectum of a nervous gentleman who had a 
fissure, and he made so much complaint of the examina- 
tion that I thought that this poor woman was suffering 
enough without my doing so disagreeable a thing. So, as 
she raised herself and rested on her knees, just on the 
edge of the bed, and by putting one finger into the va- 
gina I could easily touch the uterus by my pushing, but 
I could not place it in position, for my finger was too 
short ; if it had been half an inch longer, I could have 
put the womb into place. So I introduced the middle 


and index fingers, and immediately touched the uterus. 
I commenced making strong efforts to push it back, and 
thus I turned my hand with the palm upward, and then 
downward, and pushing with all my might, when all at 
once, I could not feel the womb, or the walls of the va- 
gina. I could touch nothing at all, and wondered what 
it all meant. It was as if I had put my two fingers into 
a hat, and worked them around, without touching the 
substance of it. While I was wondering what it all 
meant Mrs. Merrill said, " Why, doctor, I am relieved." 
My mission was ended, but what had brought the relief I 
could not understand. I removed my hand, and said to 
her, "You may lie down now." She was in a profuse 
perspiration from pain and the unnatural position, and 
in part from the effort. She rather fell on her 6ide. 
Suddenly there was an explosion, just as though there 
had been an escape of air from the bowel. She was ex- 
ceedingly mortified and began to apologize, and said, " I 
am so ashamed." I said : " That is not from the bowel, 
but from the vagina, and it has explained now what I 
did not understand before. I understand now what has 
relieved you, but I would not have understood it but for 
that escapement of air from the vagina. When I placed 
my fingers there, the mouth of the vagina was so dilated 
that the air rushed in and extended the vagina to its full- 
est capacity, by the natural pressure of fifty-five pounds 
to the square inch, and this, conjoined with the position, 
was the means of restoring the retroverted organ to its 
normal place." 


Then, said I to myself, if I can place the patient in 
that position, and distend the vagina by the pressnre of 
air, so as to produce snch a wonderful result as this, why 
can I not take the incurable case of vesicovaginal fistula, 
which seems now to be so incomprehensible, and put the 
girl in this position and see exactly what are the relations 
of the surrounding tissues I Fired with this idea, I for- 
got that I had twenty patients waiting to see me all over 
the hills of this beautiful city. I jumped into my buggy 
and drove hurriedly home. Passing by the store of Hall, 
Mores u: Roberts, I stopped and bought a pewter spoon. 
I went to my office where I had two medical students, 
and said, " Come, boys, go to the hospital with me."' 

" You have got through your work early this morn- 
ing,"' they said. 

a I have done none of it," I replied ; " come to the 
hospital with me." Arriving there, I said, "Betsey, 
I told you that I would send you home this afternoon, 
but before you go I want to make one more examina- 
tion of your case.'' She willingly consented. I got a 
table about three feet long, and put a coverlet upon it, 
and mounted her on the table, on her knees, with her 
head resting on the palms of her hands. I placed the 
two students one on each side of the pelvis, and they 
laid hold of the nates, and pulled them open. Before I 
could get the bent spoon-handle into the vagina, the air 
rushed in with a puffing noise, dilating the vagina to its 
fullest extent. Introducing the bent handle of the spoon 
I saw everything, as no man had ever seen before. The 


fistula was as plain as the nose on a man's face. The 
edges were clear and well-defined, and distinct, and the 
opening could be measured as accurately as if it had 
been cut out of a piece of plain paper. The walls of 
the vagina could be seen closing in every direction ; the 
^neck of the uterus was distinct and well-defined, and 
even the secretions from the neck could be seen as a 
tear glistening in the eye, clear even and distinct, and 
as plain as could be. I said at once, "Why can not 
these things be cured? It seems to me that there is 
nothing to do but to pare the edges of the fistula and 
bring it together nicely, introduce a catheter in the neck 
of the bladder and drain the urine oh* continually, and 
the case will be cured." Fired with enthusiasm by this 
wonderful discovery, it raised me into a plane of thought 
that unfitted me almost for the duties of the day. Still, 
with gladdened heart, and buoyant spirits, and rejoicing 
in my soul, I went off to make my daily rounds. I felt 
sure that I was on the eve of one of the greatest discov- 
eries of the day. The more I thonght of it, the more I 
was convinced of it. 

I immediately went to work to invent instruments 
necessary for performing the operation on the principles 
that were self-evident on the first inspection of the first 
case. The speculum, or retractor, was perfectly clear 
from the very beginning. I did not send Lucy home, 
and I wrote to her master that I would retain her there, 
and he must come and see me again. I saw Mr. "Wescott, 
and I told him that I was on the eve of a great discovery, 


and that I would like to have him send Anarcha back to 
my hospital. I also wrote to Dr. Harris, saying that I 
had changed my mind in regard to Betsey, and for him 
to send her back again. I ransacked the country for 
cases, told the doctors what had happened and what I 
had done, and it ended in my finding six or seven cases 
of vesico-vaginal fistula that had been hidden away for 
years in the country because they had been pronounced 
incurable. I went to work to put another story on my 
hospital, and this gave me sixteen beds ; four beds for 
servants, and twelve for the patients. Then I made this 
proposition to the owners of the negroes : If you will 
give me Anarcha and Betsey for experiment, I agree to 
perforin no experiment or operation on either of them 
to endanger their lives, and will not charge a cent for 
keeping them, but you must pay their taxes and clothe 
them. I will keep them at my own expense. Remem- 
ber, I was very enthusiastic, and expected to cure them, 
every one, in six months. I never dreamed of failure, 
and could see how accurately and how nicely the opera- 
tion could be performed. 

It took me about three months to have my instru- 
ments made, to gather the patients in, and to have 
everything ready to commence the season of philosophi- 
cal experiment. The first patient I operated on was 
Lucy. She was the last one I had, and the case was a 
very bad one. The whole base of the bladder was gone 
and destroyed, and a piece had fallen out, leaving an 
opening between the vagina and the bladder, at least two 


inches in diameter or more. That was before the days of 
anaesthetics, and the poor girl, on her knees, bore the 
operation with great heroism and bravery. I had about 
a dozen doctors there to witness the series of experi- 
ments that I expected to perform. All the doctors had 
^een my notes often and examined them, and agreed that 
I was on the eve of a great discovery, and every one 
of them was interested in seeing me operate. The oper- 
ations were tedious and difficult. The instruments were 
on the right principle, though they were not as per- 
fect as they were subsequently, and improvements had 
to be made slowly. I succeeded in closing the fistula 
in about an hour's time, which was considered to be very 
good work. I placed my patient in bed, and it does 
seem to me now, since things were so simple and clear, 
that I was exceedingly stupid at the beginning. 

But I must have something to turn the urine from 
the bladder, and I thought that if I could make a ca- 
theter stay in the bladder I could succeed. But I knew 
that the books said that the doctors had tried to do it for 
ages past and had never succeeded. The great Wtirtzer, 
of Germany, attempted to cure fistula, many years ago, 
and, failing to retain the catheter in the bladder, he 
adopted the plan of fastening the patient face downward, 
for a week at a time, to prevent the urine from dripping 
through into the vagina. I said, " I will put a little piece 
of sponge into the neck of the bladder, running a silk 
string through it. This will act as a capillary tube ; the 
urine will be turned, and the fistula cured." It was a 


very stupid thing for me to do, as the sequel will show. 
At the end of five days my patient was very ill. She 
had fever, frequent pulse, and real blood-poisoning, but 
we did not know what to call it at that day and time. 
However, I saw that everything must be removed ; so I 
cut loose my sutures, which had been held by a peculiar 
mechanical contrivance which it is not necessary here to 
detail. Then I attempted to remove the little piece of 
sponge from the neck of the bladder. It was about two 
inches long. One inch occupied the urethra, half an inch 
projected into the bladder, and half an inch into the 
meatus. As soon as it was applied, the urine came drip- 
ping through, just as fast as it was secreted in the blad- 
der, and so it continued during all the time it was worn. 
It performed its duties most wonderfully; but when I 
came to remove it I found what I ought to have known, 
that the sponge could not rest there simply as a sponge, 
but was perfectly infiltrated with sabulous matter, and 
was really stone. The whole urethra and the neck of the 
bladder were in a high state of inflammation, which came 
from the foreign substance. It had to come away, and 
there was nothing to do but to pull it away by main 
force. Lucy's agony was extreme. She was much pros- 
trated, and I thought that she was going to die ; but by 
irrigating the parts of the bladder she recovered with 
great rapidity, and in the course of a week or ten days 
was as well as ever. 

After she had recovered entirely from the effects of 
this unfortunate experiment, I put her on a table, to ex- 


amine and see what was the result of the operation. 
The appearance of the parts was changed entirely. The 
enormous fistula had disappeared, and two little openings 
in the line of union, across the vagina, were all that re- 
mained. One was the size of a knitting-needle, and the 
^ther was the size of a goose-quill. That encouraged me 
very much in the operation, for I said, " If one operation 
can produce results such as this, under such unfavorable 
circumstances, why may it not be perfectly successful 
when I have something to draw the urine that will not 
produce inflammation of the soft parts?" 

This operation was performed on the day of 

December, 1845. It inaugurated a series of experiments 
that were continued for a long time. It took Lucy two 
or three months to recover entirely from the effects of 
the operation. As soon as I had arranged a substitute for 
the sponge, I operated on Betsey. The fistula was favor- 
able, and would be considered a favorable one at the 
present day. Of course, I considered it very unfavorable. 
The fistula occupied the base of the bladder, and was 
very large, being quite two inches in diameter. I re- 
peated the operation, in the same way and manner as 
performed on Lucy, with the exception of placing in the 
bladder a self-retaining catheter, instead of the sponge. 
I started out very hopefully, and, of course, I waited 
anxiously for the result of the operation. Seven days 
rolled around ; she had none of the chills or fever, 
either violent or sudden, or the disturbance attending 
the previous operation. At the end of seven days the 


sutures were removed. To my great astonishment and 
disappointment, the operation was a failure. StilL the 
opening had been changed entirely in character, and, 
instead of being two inches in diameter, it was united 
across entirely, with the exception of three little open- 
ings, one in the middle, and one at each end of the line 
of union. The line of union was transverse. 

I thought I could make some improvements in the 
operation, and Anarcha was the next case. Anareha was 
the first case that I had ever seen, having assisted Dr. 
Henry in her delivery. She had not only an enormous 
fistula in the base of the bladder, but there was an ex- 
tensive destruction of the posterior wall of 
opening into the rectum. This woman had the very 
worst form of ve sic o- vaginal fistula. The urine was run- 
ning day and night, saturating the bedding and clothing, 
and producing an inflammation of the external parts 
wherever it came in contact with the person, almost simi- 
lar to confluent small-pox, with constant pain and burn- 
ing: The odor from this saturation permeated every- 
thing, and every corner of the room ; and, of course, her 
life was one of suffering and disgust. Death would have 
been preferable. Bu: : _ ::^: ; :: this kind never die; 
they must live and suffer. Anarcha had added to the 
fistula an opening which extended into the rectum, by 
which gas — intestinal gas — escaped involuntarily, and 
w a passing off continually, so that her person was not 
only loathsome and disgusting to herself, but to every 
one who came near her. 


I made some modifications in the suture apparatus, 
such as I thought important, and in the catheter, and 
then operated on the fistula of the bladder. But, like 
the others, she was only partially cured. The large fis- 
tula was contracted, leaving only two or three smaller 
ones in the line of union, as in the other two instances. 
The size of the fistula makes no difference in the invol- 
untary loss of urine. It will escape as readily and as 
rapidly through an opening the size of a goose-quill as 
it will when the whole base of the bladder is destroyed. 
The patient is not cured so long as there is the involun- 
tary loss of a single drop of urine. It would be tiresome 
for. me to repeat in detail all the stages of improvement 
in the operation that were necessary before it was made 
perfect. These I have detailed in a surgical history of 
the facts, and to professional readers are still well known. 
Besides these three cases, I got three or four more to 
experiment on, and there was never a time that I could 
not, at any day, have had a subject for operation. But 
my operations all failed, so far as a positive cure was 
concerned. This went on, not for one year, but for two 
and three, and even four years. I kept all these negroes 
at my own expense all the time. As a matter of course 
this was an enormous tax for a young doctor in country 
practice. When I began the experiments, the other doc- 
tors in the city were all willing to help me, and all 
seemed anxious to witness the operations. But, at last, 
two or three years of constant failure and fruitless effort 

rather made my friends tired, and it was with difficulty 


that I could get any doctor to help me. But, notwith- 
standing the repeated failures, I had succeeded in inspir- 
ing my patients with confidence that they would be cured 
eventually. They would not have felt that confidence 
if I had not felt confident too ; and at last I performed 
operations only with the assistance of the patients them- 

So I went on working without any progress, or at 
least permanent result, till my brother-in-law, Dr. Rush 
Jones, came to me one day, and he said : 

" I have come to have a serious talk with you. 
When you began these experiments, we all thought that 
you were going to succeed at once, and that you were on 
the eve of a brilliant discovery that would be of great 
importance to suffering humanity. "We have watched 
you, and sympathized with you ; but your friends here 
have seen that of late you are doing too much work, 
and that you are breaking down. And, besides, I must 
tell you frankly that with your young and growing 
family it is unjust to them to continue in this way, 
and carry on this series of experiments. You have 
no idea what it costs you to support a half-dozen nig- 
gers, now more than three years, and my advice to you 
is to resign the whole subject and give it up. It is 
better for you, and better for your family." 

I was very much surprised at what he said. But I 
said : " My dear brother, if I live I am bound to suc- 
ceed ; and I am as sure that I shall carry this thing 
through to success as I am that I now live, or as sure as 


I can be of anything. I have done too much already, 
and I am too near the accomplishment of the work to 
give it up now. My patients are all perfectly satisfied 
with what I am doing for them. I can not depend on 
the doctors, and so I have trained them to assist me in 
the operations. I am going on with this series of experi- 
ments to the end. It matters not what it costs, if it costs 
me my life. For, if I should fail, I believe somebody 
would be raised up to take the work where I' lay it down 
and carry it on to successful issue." 

The experiments were continued at least a year after 
this conversation with Dr. Jones. I went on improving 
the methods of operating, eliminating first one thing and 
then another, till I had got it down to a very simple 
practice. Then I said : " I am not going to perform 
another operation until I discover some method of tying 
the suture higher up in the body where I can not reach." 
This puzzled me sorely. I had been three weeks without 
performing a single operation on either of the half-dozen 
patients that I had there. They were clamorous, and at 
last the idea occurred to me about three o'clock one 
morning. I had been lying awake for an hour, wonder- 
ing how to tie the suture, when all at once an idea 
occurred to me to run a shot, a perforated shot, on the 
suture, and, when it was drawn tight, to compress it with 
a pair of forceps, which would "make the knot perfectly 
secure. I was so elated with the idea, and so enthusi- 
astic as I lay in bed, that I could not help waking up 
my kind and sympathetic wife and telling her of the 


simple and beautiful method I had discovered of tying 
the suture. I lay there till morning, tying the suture 
and performing all sorts of beautiful operations, in im- 
agination, on the poor people in my little hospital ; and 
I determined, as soon as I had made my round of morn- 
ing calls, to operate with this perfected suture. Just as I 
had got ready to perform my operation I was summoned 
to go twenty miles into the country, and I did not get 
back until late in the night. I looked upon it as a very 
unfortunate thing, and one of the keenest disappoint- 
ments of my life, because it kept me from seeing all 
the beautiful results of my method. However, the next 
day, in due time, the operation was performed on Lucy. 
When it was done, I said, " Could anything be more 
beautiful ? Kow I know that she will be cured very 
soon, and then all the rest must be cured." It was with 
great impatience that I waited a whole week to see what 
the result of the operation would be. When I came to 
examine it, it was a complete failure. 

I then said to myself, " There must be a cause for 
this. I have improved the operations till the mechan- 
ism seems to be as perfect as possible, and yet they fail. 
I wonder if it is in the kind of suture that is used ? 
Can I get some substitute for the silk thread ? Meltor, 
of Virginia, had used lead, and I had used a leaden 
suture and failed. What can I do \ " Just in this time 
of tribulation about the subject, I was walking from my 
house to the office, and picked up a little bit of brass 
wire in the yard. It was very fine, and such as was 


formerly used as springs in suspenders before the days 
of India-rubber. I took it around to Mr. Swan, who 
was then my jeweler, and asked him if he could make 
me a little silver wire about the size of the piece of 
brass wire. He said Yes, and he made it. He made it 
^of all pure silver. Anarcha was the subject of this 
experiment. The operation was performed on the fis- 
tula in the base of the bladder, that would admit of the 
end of my little finger ; she had been cured of one fistula 
in the base of the bladder. The edges of the wound 
were nicely denuded, and neatly brought together with 
four of these fine silver wires. They were passed 
through little strips of lead, one on one side of the fis- 
tula, and the other on the other. The suture was tight- 
ened, and then secured or fastened by the perforated 
shot run on the wire, and pressed with forceps. This 
was the thirtieth operation performed on Anarcha. She 
was put to bed, a catheter was introduced, and the next 
day the urine came from the bladder as clear and as 
limpid as spring water, and so it continued during all 
the time she wore the catheter. In all the preceding 
operations, where the silk was used for a suture at the 
base of the bladder, cystitis always resulted. The ure- 
thra was swollen continually, and the urine loaded with 
a thick, ropy mucus. "With the use of the silver suture 
there was a complete change in these conditions. 

I was always anxious to see the result of all experi- 
ments ; but this was attended with such marked symp- 
toms of improvement, in every way, that I was more 


anxious now than ever. When the week rolled around 
— it seemed to me that the time would never come for 
the removal of the sutures — Anarcha was removed from 
the bed and carried to the operation-table. With a pal- 
pitating heart and an anxious mind I turned her on her 
side, introduced the speculum, and there lay the suture 
apparatus just exactly as I had placed it. There was 
no inflammation, there was no tumefaction, nothing un- 
natural, and a very perfect union of the little fistula. 

This was in the month of May, I think, though pos- 
sibly it was June (1849). In the course of two weeks 
more, Lucy and Betsey were both cured by the same 
means, without any sort of disturbance or discomfort. 
Then I realized the fact that, at last, my efforts had been 
blessed with success, and that I had made, perhaps, one 
of the most important discoveries of the age for the 
relief of suffering humanity. 


Am prosperous and happy — Death of my second son, followed by a severe 
attack of diarrhoea — Go to New York without benefit — Recommended 
to go to Cooper's Well, where I find relief — Return of the disease — Go 
North again — Return in improved health — Recurrence of the disease — 
Threatened with death. 

Dueing the time these experiments were being per- 
formed, from 1845 to 1849, everything was flourishing 
with me. I had all the practice that I could attend to, 
and more than I ought to have attempted. Many a time 
I said to my wife : " We are too happy ; I have never 
seen a man in my life that was satisfied with his sur- 
roundings, but I am perfectly satisfied, and have nothing 
more in this world to desire. I am happy in my home, 
in my wife and children, in my friends, in my position, 
in my prospects for the future. I am perfectly content, 
and nothing could induce me to leave Montgomery. I 
have no ungratified ambition or desire." I had been 
solicited to go to New Orleans, by my friends Professor 
Stone and Erasmus D. Fenner, as that would offer me a 
wider field, and they even spoke of making me a pro- 
fessor in the medical college. I had no desire or capacity 
for a professorship. I said to my wife, " Can these things 


be ; and can such things last always \ Can these good 
things always be, and will not a blow come some time or 
another ? Where will it strike ? It is so unusual to see 
a man in the frame of mind that I am, that I fear some- 
thing dreadful will happen to us/' 

The blow came in the prolonged sickness of my little 
three-years-old son, a beautiful boy, our second son. His 
death was the first time that death invaded our house- 
hold. It was a dreadful blow to me, and that was the 
beginning of our sorrows. He was born on Christmas- 
day, 1845, and had passed through all the dangers of 
early childhood, but in 1843 he contracted diarrhoea, and 
died in October. 

Six weeks after my successes with the silver suture, 
and just as I was beginning to revive from my long 
series of exhausting experiments, I completely collapsed. 
I was broken down, and had contracted diarrhoea, and 
so I took my family and went to Butler Springs. I car- 
ried three or four of my uncured patients with me, who 
were suffering from fistula, to operate on ; but I was too 
ill to do anything. I was utterly prostrated. My disease 
grew apace ; it could not be controlled, and I saw that I 
was on the verge of going into that chronic state in 
which, in that day, there was such an attendant mor- 
tality. Being very anxious about myself, I concluded 
to go to the North for a time, and for a necessary change 
of climate. I was so weak and emaciated that I could 
hardly make the journey to New York. My wife accom- 
panied me. I was there during July, August, and Sep- 


tember (1849). I got no better; I was a little better at 
times, but there was no permanent improvement. I re- 
turned to Montgomery in October, not much better than 
when I left, if any. But soon after my return I gradu- 
ally grew worse. My friends saw that I was fading 
away. I was extremely emaciated ; I could take no food 
that seemed to nourish me, and I was reduced to eating 
milk and bread, and that ran away from me almost like 
pouring water through a funnel. 

My friends came to see me and to sympathize with 
me ; but they looked so distressed and unhappy, and my 
senses became so acute, that I dreaded the thought of 
seeing any one, and at last I said to my wife, " I wish 
that I could escape from my friends ; their visits are pain- 
ful to me. They try to comfort me with words ; but I 
read in their faces, * This poor fellow, what a pity to see 
him going off so fast and so soon, but his fate is inevi- 
table.' " My wife, seeing how unhappy I was, suggested 
that I should go to Columbus, on a visit to our relatives 
there. She had an uncle, Robert Kyle, and his family, 

I was glad to escape the visits of my friends, and 
said, " Get my things ready, and I will go to-morrow." 
I walked around to Montgomery Hall, about one hun- 
dred yards from where I lived, that being the stage 
office. Colonel Jim Powell, who was then the great 
mail-carrier and stage-coach man of the country, ran a 
line of coaches, or rather omnibuses, every morning to 
and from the train, and took passengers going north and 


east. I said to Mr. Powell, " I want to go to Columbus 
to-morrow morning ; will you have the kindness to direct 
jour man to call for me at my house, and take me to the 
railroad station ? " 

He said, "Certainly, doctor, with the greatest pleas- 

The next morning I sat on the portico, as emaciated as 
a skeleton, with my wife and children waiting to see me 
get into the stage. At last eight o'clock came, the hour 
I was to start. Eight o'clock came and no stage. So I 
walked around to the stage-office, and being sick and 
cross, I said some very irritable and disagreeable things 
to Mr. Powell. He apologized for disappointing me, and 
said that he would surely send the stage for me on the 
following morning, there being no other on that day. I 
was very unhappy all that day long. It made me disap- 
pointed and despondent not to have gotten off. But the 
next morning the stage came in time. I took my seat in 
the cars — there was but one passenger- coach ; it was a 
short train, and there was not a great amount of travel. 
Having purchased a morning paper as I went along, I 
took my seat in the rear end of the coach. I held my 
paper up before my face, to keep the people from seeing 
me or talking to me. 

Just after I sat down I saw Colonel McLaquelly, of 
Mississippi, who had been Governor of that State, and 
whom I had known when I was a little boy, and after I 
was a grown-up man. He was a great friend of my 
father's, having known him during the war of 1812, as 


they were both young soldiers together in Charleston. 
He was coming North with his wife and two children. 
He was leading a little boy by the hand, about seven 
years old, and sat down about the middle of the car, in 
front of me. I said to myself, " I will not speak to him. 
I have not seen him for some ten or twelve years, and I 
will not introduce myself to him, because I will have to 
recount to him the history of my painful illness, and 
speak to him of my dark future." There -I sat, and the 
cars rolled off. About two hours had passed, and I sat 
there looking out of the window, with no one to talk to. 
At last the colonel's little boy said/ " Father, I want a 
drink of water." His father got up, took him by the 
hand, walked to the baggage-car, in front, and gave him 
the drink of water, and came back. Just as he was going 
to sit down, his eyes rested on me, and as I looked up I 
involuntarily said, " Colonel McLaquelly." He came up 
to me, slightly reaching out his hand, and I said, as he 
evidently did not know me, as I rose, " I am Dr. Marion 
Sims, of Montgomery. I used to know you when I was 
a little boy." 

" I am glad to see you," he said ; " but, doctor, what 
is the matter with you, you are so changed ? " 

I said : " Colonel McLaquelly, I recognized you as 
soon as you entered the car, and would like to have 
spoken to you, but I knew that you would ask me this 
question, and the subject is a painful one to me. I have 
got chronic diarrhoea, and I shall die in about three 
months. I am hopelessly incurable. I have not seen a 


case get well in Montgomery, and I have seen a great 
many cases there. It is a clironic disease of the climate. 
It is endemic all through, the valley of the Mississippi. 
It is what consumption is in New England. When you 
see in the South a man in vigorous health and middle life 
gradually wasting away, and at the end of eighteen 
months drop as a skeleton into the grave, you may take 
it for a positive fact that he has died of chronic diar- 
rhoea. If in New England you see a vigorous young 
man, twenty-five or thirty years of age, gradually wast 
ing away, going to his grave as a skeleton, ten to one he 
has died of consumption. Consumption is comparatively 
rare here, while chronic diarrhoea is common. A man 
occasionally gets well of consumption in New England ; 
but from this diarrhoea, unless he can change his climate 
and whole habits of life completely, he never recovers." 

He patiently heard what I had to say, and then he 
said : " You are thin and emaciated, but I do not at all 
think that you are going to die. You have got too 
much vivaciousness expressed in the eye, though your 
physical frame does not show it. If you will do as I tell 
you I am sure that you will get well." 

I said, " I have consulted medical men in New York 
and Philadelphia, and everywhere, and nobody has been 
able to do anything for me." 

" Did you never hear of Cooper's "Well ? " he asked, 
and I replied that I had not. u Well," he said, "let me 
tell you about it. It is in Mississippi. This well was 
dug a few years ago, and you know that, when our army 


returned from Mexico year before last, many of our sol- 
diers came back with chronic diarrhoea, the very disease 
that you have, and a good many of them died ; some, of 
course, got well." 

I said, " Yes, I have attended several cases and they 
all died ; none of them ever got well about here. I can 
not recall a single case in this part of the State that got 

" Well, I will tell you," he said, " what I know of 
Cooper's Well. Captain Black, of the regiment in which 
my son was a member, was very much worse off than 
you are, and he went there, and is as well as ever now. 
He went to Cooper's Well, and was cured in a month 
or two. My own son Abraham was very ill, he was a 
lieutenant, and he was certainly as bad as or worse off than 
you seem to be, and he also went there, and to-day he is 
as well as ever." And so he went on to enumerate case 
after case, giving me a history of six or seven of the 
young men that had returned from Mexico, who were in 
a desperate state with chronic diarrhoea, all of whom 
were cured at Cooper's Well. " Now," he went on to 
say, " I believe if you will go to Cooper's Well you will 
be cured." 

The time soon came for us to part ; he continuing on 
to Washington City, where he was going as a member of 
Congress. He had been detained a fortnight after the 
time that he should have been there, on account of the 
sickness of his little boy, who had his arm broken, and it 
was then in a sling. He had been thrown from a pony, 


and the doctor who had charge of the broken arm was 
not willing that the boy should be removed until union 
had taken place ; hence his detention, and hence my 
good fortune in meeting him as I did. When I arrived 
at Columbus, of course I was very much elated with what 
I had heard. I told my uncle what Colonel McLaquelly 
had advised me to do, and I told my cousin, Bob Kyle, 
all about it. He said, " Of course you are going to 
Cooper's Well?" 

I said, " Bob, I haven't a cent of money in the world. 
I borrowed five hundred dollars to go to New York 
with, and I thought that would save my life, but I came 
back no better. I have no money with which to go to 
Cooper's Well, or anywhere else." 

He said, "Never mind that, you are going," and 
with that he walked into the next room and brought me 
out two hundred dollars, and said, "You go home and 
pack up your trunks, take Cousin Theresa, and go 
straight to Cooper's Well." , I did not stay long in 
Columbus, for I got no better by the visit, and I was 
very anxious to get home, and to tell my wife the news 
about this Cooper's Well. So I hurried back, and as 
soon as she heard of it she immediately commenced 
getting ready. She said, " We will start the day after 
to-morrow, and take the baby and the eldest child with 

When my brother-in-law, Dr. Rush Jones, heard of 
it, he came in the next day and sent for my wife to 
have a talk with her. He said : " Marion tells me that 


you are going to Cooper's Well to-morrow, and that you 
are going to take Mary and Fanny with you." My wife 
said that we were. " Well," he said, " I have come 
here to have a talk with you about it. I have come 
here to tell you candidly that you must not do it. He 
is a doomed man, and will die in six weeks. It is impos- 
sible for you to take him there ; if you do start, you will 
bring him back in a box." 

She said, " If he remains here he will die ; if he can 
go there, there is some hope for him and he may get 

" But," said he, " he can not get there ; he will die 
on the road. It is impossible. If he does go to Coop- 
er's Well, he is too far gone for it to be of any benefit 
to him. It isn't worth while ; you must not go there." 

She said, " I have made up my mind to go, and we 
are going to-morrow. I feel it to be my duty, and, 
besides, he has set his heart on it. We shall go, at the 
risk of his dying on the way." 

If we could have gone to Cooper's Well via New 
Orleans, it would not have been a difficult thing for us 
to do. But, unfortunately, it was at this time the 
middle of December, when the cholera was in New 
Orleans, and a man with the diarrhoea, in a cholera at- 
mosphere, stood no chance for his life. The diarrhoea 
is a premonitory stage of cholera. We were obliged to 
go to Jackson, Mississippi, directly across the country, 
where there were very poor facilities for traveling. We 
went to Selma by boat, and from there we took stage to 


Marion, and so on across the country. There had been 
heavy rains, and the water-courses were high ; the 
swamps were flooded, and the stages would get mired 
and break down. Once we had to camp all night in 
a swamp, sitting in the stage until morning, while the 
driver went for a farmer, two or three miles off, and 
hired him and an ox-team to drag us out of the mire. 
In this way we drove into the town of Jackson. We 
arrived there on the very last day of the month, having 
taken two weeks to go from Montgomery, a distance now 
traveled in a few hours by rail. The privations that I 
went through with on this journey were almost incredi- 
ble. I was nearly starved to death, living on crackers 
and milk when I could get them. When I arrived at 
Jackson, it was on the last day of the month and the last 
day of the year (1849). It was in the midst of a tremen- 
dous snow-storm, which was a most unusual thing for 
that latitude. The snow was deep, and it was followed 
by a heavy, sharp frost, so that the limbs were broken 
from the pine-trees by the weight of the ice and the ac- 
cumulation of snow that had been gathered upon them. 
In many places we had to wait, and at Jackson we re- 
mained three days. 

At last we arrived at Cooper's Well, having to ride 
on horseback to Clinton. We found Cooper's Well to be 
a most God-forsaken looking place. Mr. Cooper, the pro- 
prietor, was a Methodist preacher, a circuit-rider. He had 
a comfortable log house for himself and his family, and a 
number of log cabins, built on a space of five or six acres 


of land, giving the place the appearance of a deserted ne- 
gro quarter. He had a wife and seven or eight children. 
Some of the children, the boys, were nearly grown up. 
He gave us a hearty welcome and said that he was very 
sure that the water would effect a cure for me. There 
^was no doctor to consult about the use of the water. He 
said that a good many people were injured by the use of 
the water, as they were impatient to get well, and conse- 
quently took too much of it. But, with a 'prudent use 
of the water, he was was very sure that I would reap sub- 
stantial benefit from it. 

I had been living on stale bread and boiled milk 
and could eat nothing else. This diet was continued 
for about two days, and then Mr. Cooper told me to 
take a glass of the water seven times a day, and then to 
increase the doses of it until it began to show some 
action on the kidneys. The third day he said, " Now I 
think that yon can change your diet." I commenced 
eating immediately (it was just after the hog-killing sea- 
son) whatever was set before me ; and many things that 
I ate I had not dared to touch before. I ate, especially, 
fat meat, middle meat, and salt pork — the latter had 
been salted perhaps a month before. The diarrhoea was 
checked from the time I began to be a partaker of the 
water ; I had a ravenous appetite, and I drank the water 
according to the express directions. I ate as I had never 
been able to before. I remained there twenty-seven days, 
and gained twenty-seven pounds. I was impatient to get 
away, and left too soon. The result of the sudden arrest- 

iz^ ;: :7e iiirrLsi ~i= :: ^ on a dropsical effect. 

My nkles woe swollen, my lege were swollen above the 
-,-. - i =17 :-c a- i L- is -ere blz-iToi. StTI I :el: 
that I wis m flic road to recovery, and, especially, be- 
:a~5e :7c — ir.iii- iiirri:-:; ~ ;,; o:i.:r:"lei. 

I \zi- :7ere :l :7e 8 .Yi :: ~ 1:' i::^^ 

Orleans, where I remained about a month. I carried 
— ::7 lit ienv ;7:. ; ::' :7e ~e:er :: ::_ C: :i i: '= W 77 :.._.: 
continued the use of it, and also contined to eat meat all 
the time. I spent a month very pleasantly in New Or- 
le-ins. m: r:: a:-^:z:ei ~ :'_ -j iririii 77:\ ?. T. 77_- 
l-h. ~7: ~:~i .leu rra~rliLi' ~:_ Jemy LTli azi ?:•:.:- 
rTii; in :7r 7-:-:-e7 — 77 'is. A: : i: :7e 7r~: ;: 77.r ;".-. 
I returned home. Everybody was amazed to see me and 
the wonderful change that had been effected, and all were 
very happy of course, I immediately plunged into busi- 
ness, and in the course of a week was completely occu- 
pied with my professional duties. In two months more 
I had a return of the diarrhoea, a good deal worse than 
I had ever had it before, and it grew worse day by day. 
In July I again returned to Cooper's Well ; but the water 
and the treatment did not have the same beneficial effect 
that it had upon me during my visit there before. I re- 
mained there about two months, and then I concluded 
that it was best for me to get into a colder clime. So I 
returned home by the way of ]few Orleans, and immedi- 
ately went to New York, where I remained about two 
: n.Ts. I was always a little better in New York and 
Philadelphia than in any other place. Whenever I left 


New York and went to New England I was worse. If I 
went to Brooklyn for any length of time I became worse, 
and always felt better when I got back home again to 
New York. 

I had supposed that in New York I was better able 
"to control my diet; but subsequent observation proved 
that that was not the case. The cause of my being 
better in New York and Philadelphia than elsewhere 
was the fact of the purity of the water of those two 
cities. In all New England, where I had been, the water 
was hard, and hard water was and is very injurious to 
the irritated mucous membrane of the gastro-intestinal 

I returned from New York, in the last of October, a 
little improved, and dragged through the winter very 
miserably, and tried to work ; but I was not able to do a 
great deal. True, I was better than I had been ; but I 
was never free from diarrhoea. I was thin and ema- 
ciated, and exceedingly irritable. At last I was com- 
pelled to go to my bed. I thought that I should die. 
While lying in bed I wrote out the history of my opera- 
tions for vesico- vaginal fistula for the press, and sent the 
article to Dr. Isaac Hays, the editor of " The American 
Journal of the Medical Sciences." It was published in 
the January number of that journal (1852), as my last 
free-will offering to the medical profession before I 
should quit this world. 

It is hardly worth while for me to go into detail, 
minutely, of the trials, tribulations, and sufferings that 


I passed through. In 1852 I had gone to New York, 
and also during the summer of 1849, 1850, and 1852, 
with the hope that the change of climate would do 
something for me, and afford me some relief. In June, 
1852, I fell down with a sun-stroke, after a long walk, 
at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Twenty -seventh 
Street, and was carried to my boarding-house, at Mrs. 
Jones's, No. 27 West Twenty-seventh Street. During 
the month or six weeks before I had improved very 
much, but this sun-stroke reproduced my disease with 
the greatest violence, and nothing seemed to control it. 
In a state of desperation, I went to Portland, Con- 
necticut, to visit my friend Dr. George O. Jarvis. I 
remained there a little while, but I got no better. I re- 
turned to the city, and went over and engaged board in 
Brooklyn, which was the worst thing that I could have 
done, on account of the water, and I grew worse day by 
day. At last, thinking that I must die, I concluded to go 
to Philadelphia, as I had some friends there. The idea 
also was to leave my wife and children among those who 
could sympathize with them when I was gone. We ar- 
rived in Philadelphia, my wife and myself, and stopped 
at a boarding-house recommended to me in Spruce Street. 
The next day we got in a buggy and rode up through the 
Spring Garden District, in various directions, in search 
of a little house that I might rent, and where my wife 
could prepare the food that was necessary for me. At 
the hotels and boarding-houses I could get nothing that 
was suitable for a man as sick as I was. At last I came 


to a little house in Vine Street, between Seventh and 
Eighth, and near the residence of the great artist, Rem- 
brandt Peale. It had on the door " To Let." I applied 

to Mr. , corner of Market and Eleventh Streets. I 

went to see the proprietor, and asked him the price of 
the house by the month, and he said twenty-five dollars 
a month. He asked me for references, and I told him 
that I preferred to pay in advance. He said, "How 
long do you want it?" 

I said, " I want it as long as I live. I want to rent 
your house to die in it." 

He replied, " Judging by your looks, you will not 
want it long." 

I said, " I shall die within a month or two." We 
found it unfurnished, so we rented some beds and also 
some chairs, and two or three tables, and put in it, sim- 
ply that my wife could get what was necessary for me. 
I grew worse and worse daily, and at last I was so near 
dead that I telegraphed for my father, in Montgomery, 
to come and take charge of my wife and family and take 
them home. That day there was a severe storm at the 
North, of hail and wind, and as good luck would have it 
the storm extended to the South, blowing down all the 
telegraph-poles, costing Mobile hundreds of thousands 
of dollars in the destruction of property. So my father 
did not receive the telegram, and therefore he did not 
come to Philadelphia. 

When I saw that I could not recover, I sent for my 
friend Dr. Isaac Hays to come and see me. He came 


very promptly. I explained to him the condition of my 
affairs, and said to him that I felt that I was going to 
die, and that I wanted to introduce him to my wife. He 
said that he thought I had better take cod-liver oil, and 
not to give up. My wife went out and bought a bottle 
of cod-liver oil, though we hardly had the money to 
spare for it. It was placed on the mantel-shelf ; I never 
took it. But this gave me an idea. I said to my wife, 
"Cod-liver oil is a disagreeable thing to take; pickled 
pork is a good deal more palatable. Don't you remem- 
ber with what benefit I used it the first time I was at 
Cooper's Well, how I ate pickled pork, and how I gained, 
and how I got well from that very moment ? " 

She said Yes ; and immediately went out and bought 
some. She boiled it, and then afterward broiled it, or 
fried it, I do not know which. I had always traveled, 
wherever I went, with some of the water from Cooper's 
Well in jugs. So I said, " We will inaugurate the same 
diet here that we did at Cooper's Well, drink the water, 
and eat salted pickled pork." So we began it, and, to my 
great surprise, in four or five days the diarrhoea was un- 
der control. This was inaugurated the last of August, 
and in a month I was able to get up out of bed, and to 
walk about two hundred yards, with some little help. I 
happened to pass by a grocery-store one day, when I had 
been up about a month, and I went in to weigh myself, 
and I found that I weighed just ninety pounds. Of 
course, I had been much lighter than this two or three 
weeks previously. 


In the month of October (1852) I was getting well. 
I then said to myself, " I will not make a mistake this 
time, as I have done heretofore, in returning to Alabama 
too soon. I have always gone back to that locality in 
October, when the weather was still warm. Now I in- 
tend to remain at the North till December.' , We re- 
turned to Alabama about the 19th or the 20th of De- 
cember (1852). I was feeling pretty well. I had no 
diarrhoea now, and I thought that at last I was cured of 
this dreadful disease, which I had then had, off and on, 
for more than three years. On Christmas- Day we went 
to Mount Meigs, five days after my return from Phila- 
delphia, to dine with our friends the Lucases. There 
I had a chill. The next day we returned home. The 
diarrhoea returned, and could not be controlled by any 
possible means. I grew worse and worse ; within a week 
I was confined to my house, and within one month I was 
confined to my bed. By that time my throat and tongue 
were so ulcerated that I could hardly speak, and any 
nourishment that I took passed through me like water, 
and almost unchanged. Even milk was not digested. 

Early in February (1853) I had given up all hope, and 
one day the bell tolled. My wife was in hopes I would 
not hear it. But when it began I called to her from an 
adjoining room and wanted to know who was dead. 
She said that it was Mr. Bob Gilmer. I said, " Since I 
was taken with this diarrhoea, let me see — how many 
have died ? There have been P. D. Sayer, Mr. Ward 
Allen, Mrs. James Smith, Mrs. Calvin " — and I went on 


to count up the numbers. I said, " Bob Gilmer is the 
eleventh or twelfth important person in this commu- 
nity that has died of the disease that I have, since I 
was taken with it." I said, u They have all died, and I 
have had a hard struggle for my life, and now I must 
die too." Of course, my poor wife tried to cheer me as 
much as she could. 

" But," I said, " if I had the physical strength and 
force, and the moral courage to do what I ought to do, 
I could get well." 

" ^Yhat, then, ought you to do ? " she asked. 

"I will tell you what I ought to do," I said: • I 
ought to sell out everything, take my wife and children 
and go to Xew York ; because, whenever I have gone to 

- York I have been better. A few months ago I 
thought that I was cured. If I could change my cli- 
mate entirely I believe that even yet I might be cured 
and restored to health. But that is impossible," I con- 

" But I don't think it is impossible," she said. 

I replied, " I have no heart for work, and I can not 
do anything. I can not undertake the annoyances and 
troubles we would have to go through to get ready, and 
it would be a most selfish thing, after all, for me to do. 
Supposing, after we had broken up here, I should die on 
the road, or in Xew York, and leave you and the chil- 
dren, without friends and among strangers, and without 
money. I hardly think that a right thing for me to do. 
I had better remain here and die among my friends, 


where you could get somebody to sympathize with you 
and to help you in your struggles for life." 

" But," she said, " I take a different view of the 
thing altogether. The whole question can be arranged 
as you would have it, without giving you a bit of 
trpuble." In two weeks she had arranged everything. 
She had sold out my interest in the drug-store to her 
brother, Dr. Rush Jones. I had put live thousand dol- 
lars in there four years before. He and Dr. Baldwin, who 
were partners with me, agreed to give their notes for 
seven thousand five hundred dollars, payable in twelve 
months, for my interest. My house and lot were sold 
for ten thousand dollars, on a credit bearing eight per 
cent interest. We hadn't many negroes. We had no 
planting interests, and the dozen negroes we had were 
house negroes and town negroes — cooks, waiters, and 
body- servants only. We called them together, and I 
said, " Eow we are going away, never to come back 
again. You must all select masters with whom you are 
willing to live, and the man that you select, as a matter 
of course, will be your master hereafter. We will agree 
about the valuation." 

They all began to weep, and felt very badly over 
the thought of our leaving them. They said, " Oh, no, 
master, we don't want to know any other person for a 
master but you, and we don't want to know any other 
woman for a missus but Mrs. Theresa. We don't want 
to be sold. Let us stay here, and we will take Colonel 
Clauton for an agent, and we will look to him for pro- 



tection in everything, and pay him the same wages we 
would pay yon. "We will take care of ourselves the best 
way we can, hoping that you will finally be restored, and 
come back to your old home again among us." 

I told the negroes to do exactly as they pleased, and 
that I would not put any of them in slavery against their 
will. I consented to their plan, and wished them to be 
happy, and well taken care of. So all my affairs were 
arranged and settled so that I could leave. I left some 
debts behind me ; I had made collections and paid off 
some, and others were still unpaid. I left Montgomery 
for New York about the first of May (1S53), so near 
dead that no one thought that I would ever get to New 
York. I had to lie down all the way on the railroad 
train. The diarrhoea was uncontrolled. We went to 
Richmond, Virginia, without stopping, the journey be- 
ing a very fatiguing one for me. I determined to go 
from there to Rockford Island Springs. We had to go 
by canal up the James River to Lynchburg, and we 
arrived there on the second day. I was not comfortably 
situated there. I stopped at Lexington, and sent to the 
springs for the water. I remained there a week, but 
did not derive any great benefit from it, as I had an- 
ticipated. I concluded it would be about as well for me 
to take the water with me as to stay there, and so I 
left, and went on to New York. 


Settling permanently in New York — Plan of a woman's hospital — Prepare 
to lecture — Coolness and neglect of members of the profession — In 
desperate circumstances. 

I spent the summer partly in New York and partly 
in Middletown and Portland, Connecticut ; and then, in 
September, we returned to New York to seek a home. 
After looking around, I found one at No. 89 Madison 
Avenue, between Twenty - eighth and Twenty -ninth 
Streets, for sale, and bought it for fifteen thousand dol- 
lars ; the proprietor taking the notes due from Dr. 
Jones, my brother-in-law, for five thousand dollars, and 
the other two thousand five hundred dollars I appro- 
priated toward furnishing the house. It was a hazard- 
ous thing to do. I had a little money only over and 
above this, not more than one thousand dollars. I had 
no friends, no influence, no health, and nothing to rec- 
ommend me to business. Fortunately, I had published 
my article on the treatment of vesico- vaginal fistula a 
year before that, in " The American Journal of the Medi- 
cal Sciences," and the doctors had read it everywhere, 
and were very much surprised at the claims set up of 
rendering this troublesome and loathsome affection easily 

•2'-^ THE STORY OF \[Y IiFI 

and successfully cured. They hardly believed it TVhen- 
evei I was introduced to any of the doctors, they all 
knew who I was by that article, and by my previous 
contributions to the medical literature of the day. 

It may be wondered how 1 lived without friends 
and without business. Mine is not an isolated example 
of a man's living in a first-class house, with first-class 
surroundings, and yet struggling with the most abject 
want. I had some Southern patients who followed me 
to Xct York. They were boarders in the house, and 
besides these we had some other boarders, so that our 
house supported me almost by keeping these boarders. 
Soon after my arrival in New York. I made the ac- 
quaintance of Dr. Mott, Dr. Francis, Dr. Buck, Dr. 
Watson, and indeed all of the leading surgeons of the 
town of that day and time. Dr. Buck was exceedingly 
anxious to see me perform some of my operations with 
the silver suture, and so invited me to go and help 
operate on a Mrs. Crane, who had lacerated perinaeum, 
and whom he had operated upon unsuccessfully two 
or three times. I gladly went with him, loaned him 
my instruments, and showed him how to perform the 
operation. She was cured in a single week. A week 
or two after this. Dr. Buck came to me to borrow my 
:_~:ruments to operate on a case of vesico-vaginal fistula 
in the Xew York Hospital. I loaned him the instru- 
ments, and would gladly have gone with him to assist 
him in the operation, but he did not invite me. I felt 
Trry much hurt by it. I expected that the surgeons in 


New York would give me something to do in a branch 
which I understood so well. But I was disappointed. 
By and by a patient was sent to Dr. Mott with vesico- 
vaginal fistula, and he had the kindness to ask me to 
operate upon it. I did so, in his presence and the pres- 
ence of his son, Dr. Alexander B. Mott. The case was a 
very bad one ; but the patient was cured. It was the 
first case ever cured in New York. With my advent 
to New York, the subject of vesico- vaginal -fistula, lacer- 
ated perinasum, and the subject of parturition, seemed 
all at once to interest the profession more than they had 
ever done before. 

Yery soon it was heard that Dr. Buck and Dr. Wat- 
son and some of the other doctors were performing all 
these operations very successfully in the other hospitals. 
I could not advertise ; I could get nothing to do ; I had 
no means of bringing myself before the public, or of 
reaching the profession, because I had no hospital in 
which to operate or to perform these marvelous opera- 
tions. As soon as the doctors had learned what they 
wanted of me, they dropped me. As soon as they had 
learned how to perform these operations successfully in 
the New York Hospital and elsewhere, they had no 
further use for me. My thunder had been stolen, and 
I was left without any resources whatever. I said to 
myself, ; < I am a lost man unless I can get somebody 
to create a place in which I can show the world what 
I am capable of doing." This was the inception of the 
idea of a woman's hospital. If the profession had re- 


Graved me kindly in ^ew York, and acted honorably 
and gentlemanly and generously toward me, I would not 
have thought of building a woman's hospital. Some peo- 
ple have given me the credit of coming to Uew York 
with the express purpose of establishing a great hospital 
devoted to the diseases of women and their treatment. 
When I left Alabama for l$ew York I had no idea of 
the sort in the world. I came simply for a purpose, the 
most selfish in the world — that of prolonging my life. 
I saw that I could not live in any other place than New 
York, and for that reason, and no other, I came. 

Seeing that I must create an institution in which to 
work, I we^i at it with all my might. But, even then, 
my health was feeble ; I still had some diarrhoea, and 
the moral depression under which I labored, and the 
disappointments that I had in not getting practice or 
encouragement from my medical brethren, produced a 
most demoralizing effect upon me. I had become ac- 
quainted with Dr. Francis. I told him of the great dis- 
.covery that I had made ; I spoke to him on the neces- 
y of a hospital for the treatment of the diseases of 
women, in which their improvement could evidently be 
effected. He took up this subject wirh great enthusi- 
asm, and advised me to go at once and lay it before Dr. 
Mott, Dr. S:c~r:: ; . and some others. I ^rent and saw 
Dr. Mott and had a long talk with him. He encouraged 

in the idea, and said he would be glad to help me in 
any way that he could. I went and saw Dr. Alexander 
H. Stevens. He said, "I have read your articles on 


* Vesico-Yaginal Fistula ' with the greatest interest in 
the world, and I think that you ought to have a field in 
which you can work. Now, the Episcopalians are build- 
ing a hospital, or about to — St. Luke's ; and I will give 
you a letter to the Rev. Dr. Muhlenberg. He is its 
founder, and the leader in the movement. I will rec- 
ommend him to set aside a ward in his hospital expressly 
for diseases of women, and that you be made surgeon 
of it." He continued, " Let me tell you what I will do. 
I will call a meeting of the profession, at the College 
of Physicians and Surgeons, and then you can explain 
all your views to the profession precisely as you have 
to me, showing the necessity for a new hospital for the 
treatment of the diseases of women. Thus vou will 
be properly introduced to the doctors of the city, and 
I have no doubt but that the thing can be accom- 

" But," I said, ft doctor, that is impossible. I can 
not make a speech. It would frighten me to death to 
stand up before an audience to speak." 

He said, " I do not know why you can not stand up 
before an audience of one hundred gentlemen and speak 
as fluently as you can before me. All that you want 
to do is to tell the tale of the suffering of women in 
their conflicts with these terrible diseases. You must go 
there and tell the story of how you made the discovery, 
and say what it is to lead to in the future, and I think 
that the profession will take you up with a great deal of 


I said, " You must let me oft for a time, mv dear 
doctor, to think about this, but I don't think that I can 
do it." I had refused, because Dr. Mott had promised to 
help me, and I knew that he was all-powerful, and that 
he didn't require me to make a speech. He would in- 
dorse and help me all he could. I had performed an 
operation for Dr. Mott several weeks before this, and 
I had not seen him since. I went at once to tell him of 
the interview that I had had with Dr. Stevens, and to 
ask him to give me the assistance that I wanted to start 
a hospital. He said that he had thought a good deal 
about the subject, and that it seemed to be such a her- 
culean task, an undertaking so gigantic, and one so cer- 
tain to result in failure, that he had concluded to do 
nothing further in the matter. 

I felt exceedingly mortified and disappointed. I 
went home, and in my heart I blamed Dr. Mott for hav- 
ing deceived me. I ungenerously, perhaps, laid consid- 
erable blame upon him, for I really thought that he and 
his son had seen me operate in consultation, and, having 
got out of me all that they expected or hoped to, they 
therefore had no f urther use for me. Of course, I felt 
suspicious of everybody, as I was entirely and utterly 
friendless and helpless. Dr. Francis alone seemed to 
encourage and stand by me. I became very gloomy and 
melancholy, and heartily regretted that I had ever come 
to Xew York. However, as I had come, there was now 
no alternative of doing anything, excepting through Dr. 
Stevens. I then sat down and wrote out deliberately my 


thoughts and views on the necessity for the establish- 
ment of a hospital for the treatment of the diseases of 
women. Then I went in search of Dr. Stevens. By this 
time nearly two months had elapsed since Dr. Stevens 
had kindly invited me to deliver a lecture before the 
medical profession in the city of New York. When I 
found him at home I told him that I had come to com- 
ply with his suggestion to lecture before the medical 
profession of the city. He received me very kindly, and 
said, " I have been wanting to see you ever so much 
lately, but I did not know where to find you. You re- 
member when you talked to me on the subject, two 
months ago, you spoke with such earnestness and en- 
thusiasm that I was completely captivated and carried 
away with your idea of establishing a hospital, and I 
even gave you a letter to Dr. Muhlenberg, and recom- 
mended him to set aside a ward in his hospital, and to 
have you appointed surgeon of the same. I wrote it 
in good faith, to carry forward the views I expressed to 
you. But I am very sorry to say that since then I have 
been talking with my friends in the medical profession, 
and I find here such a degree of universal opposition to 
you and to your enterprise, that I am sorry to say that I 
can not now give you the privilege or opportunity of 
addressing the profession under my auspices." 

Of course, this surprised me greatly, and it was a stab 
that I little expected. I do not think that I had smiled 
in three months before, not even at home in my own 
family. I had become bitter and vindictive, and when 


Dr. Stevens addressed me thus I broke out in a sort of 
sardonic smile or grin, and said : 

"Doctor, this is about the first time that I have 
smiled or laughed in three months. You are the only 
honest man that I have found since I came to New York 
in the profession here, and the only one who has dared 
to tell me to my face that I am persecuted and hunted 
down. I have felt that I was here under a cloud all the 
time ; that I had no friends, nor one upon whom I could 
rely, Dr. Francis excepted." I continued, " As to the 
letter of introduction that you gave me to Dr. Muhlen- 
berg, I will return that to-morrow. I thank you kindly 
for putting the idea into my head to address the medical 
profession ; I think that I shall do so some day anyhow. 
You have pointed out to me what is my duty in the 
matter, and I shall do it." 

So I left the doctor with a very heavy heart, deplor- 
ing the misfortune that had driven me to the city of 
New York. Some two or three weeks passed over, and 
I was utterly at a loss what to do. The small amount of 
money that I had brought to New York I deposited with 
Henfold, Clay & Co., druggists, with whom the drug 
firm I was associated with in the city of Montgomery had 
done business. I found in Mr. Clay a kind-hearted per- 
sonal friend. I went to see him, to find out how much 
money I had to my credit with them. I was surprised 
to find that I had only one hundred and sixteen dollars. 
I came home and called my wife aside, in order to have 
a consultation. I told her that I thought we would have 


to leave Xew York ; that I saw no way in the world for 
doing what I had started out to do. I told her that I had 
been to Mr. Clay's, and that we had remaining only one 
hundred and sixteen dollars, and that it would be better 
even to go back to Montgomery than to remain in ISTew 
York tinder such circumstances as we found ourselves : 
with bad health, a large family of children, no money, 
no friends. I did not see how we could possibly go on 
much longer. She very coolly replied that we must not 
go back to Montgomery ; that we would go into the 
country, as I had proposed, and rent a cottage until I 
could live down the opposition of the doctors. She said 
that she knew that I would eventually succeed in what 
I had undertaken. 

Although it was as dark as it was possible to conceive, 
she said that she had an abiding confidence that God 
had not driven ns out of our comfortable home in the 
South, to place us here for an idle and foolish purpose. 
She further continued that she would never consent to 
giving up and going back to Alabama. We were re- 
duced to the very lowest extremity. My courage was 
all gone ; but she was as calm and as quiet as possible for 
one to be. I thought that I would have gone crazy, and 
I did not know what in the world to do, things looked 
so dark. And then we had to send our children to the 
public schools, because we were not able to send them to 
a private school. Of course, the public schools were 
good enough ; but we would not have chosen the public 
schools as the place to send girls of ten and twelve years 


of age ; and to see my wife cutting up her dresses, her 
new fine dresses, to make her children appear respectable 
at school, and doing her own cooking to save nine dollars 
a month — all together, I was as near going into an insane 
asylum as a man ever was, and not go there. Things had 
come to the very last extremity. 

The struggle continued, and at this time I was re- 
duced to such an extremity for the want of means to 
live on that I felt obliged to rent my house and go to 
the country, which I wanted to do, and which my wife 
opposed, and get somebody to take the house and occupy 
it. The Mrs. Seymour with whom we had boarded pre- 
viously to my taking the house, was obliged to give up 
her house — a boarding-house — in Fourth Avenue, and, 
knowing the dilemma in which I was placed, she offered 
to take the house and board me and my family for the 
rent of it ; giving the third-floor front room for my wife 
and myself, and packing the children in the top of the 
house and elsewhere, as she could conveniently put them, 
while the rest of the house was given up to the boarders. 
One whole year of misery was passed in this way. Eever 
in this whole world was a poor family so tyrannized over 
as we were. We could not get rid of Mrs. Seymour, and 
had to put up with all her insolence and insults. 

At the end of the year I wanted her to leave ; but 
she said " No," that she had possession and was going to 
hold it. I then had to apply to the courts to have her 
ejected, and an officer came to put her out. Of course, 
the heart-burnings and unhappiness attending the asso- 


ciation with such a woman were enough to demoralize 
any family and render them perfectly miserable. This 
malicious, vindictive woman then sued me for a breach 
of contract, claiming that she had hired the house for 
a longer period, and brought in a number of charges 
against me to the amount of twenty - five hundred 
dollars. The case was tried before a referee ; the evi- 
dence was all taken, and this referee was to decide it. 
He sent for my lawyer, Mr. Benedict, and 'told him that 
the case was evidently one of black-mail, but that as I 
was a perfect stranger, and just starting in an enterprise 
whereby I would need all the friends it could have, it 
would be better for me not to accept a verdict against a 
woman so malicious and bad-tempered, and suggested 
that the wise thing for him would be to give a verdict 
of two hundred and twenty-five dollars in her favor. 
Not that she was entitled to one cent, but her acceptance 
of that verdict would shut her mouth, and keep her from 
saying disagreeable things about me in the community ; 
because, as she did not hesitate to swear to a lie, she 
would not hesitate to tell one. 


A friend in need — I lecture before the medical profession — Action of the 
profession — Plan for organizing a woman's hospital — Aid of Mrs. 
William E. Dodge, Mrs. Doremus, and Mrs. Codwise — The hospital 

One day, just at this time, I happened to meet a 
man named Beattie, whom I had known very well in 
Montgomery. I was his physician there, and had at- 
tended him at a long spell of sickness. When I met 
him in the Astor House neighborhood, he inquired how 
I was nourishing, and I told him my melancholy story 
— that I could do nothing ; that the profession opposed 
me, all of them; that the influence radiating from the 
New York Hospital was so powerful that I could make 
no impression at all. I told him that I could not reach 
the public ; that I could not advertise, could get nothing 
to do, and I was in a state of absolute starvation. 

He said, " Oh, well, you carried everything before 
you in Alabama, and I have thought that if your health 
were better, with your energy and working capacity, you 
would finally do something in New York. But I see it 
all now. It is the Northern prejudice against a Southern 


I said, " No, Mr. Beattie, there isn't a particle of 
political sentiment in it. It is only that I do not be- 
long to any dominant clique in the medical profession 
in New York. I am alone and solitary ; I have no 
friends, and nobody through whom I can reach the ear 
of the public." 

" Well," said he, " I am sorry that I can not help 
you ; however, I happen to know the very man here in 
this city, who, if he takes a fancy to you, ean help you. 
I will bring him to see you to-morrow evening." 

Of course, I could not imagine that Mr. Beattie, a 
comparative stranger, could bring in anybody who could 
help me, when I had applied to men so strong in the 
city, and could get no help from them. However, Mr. 
Beattie appeared about eight o'clock on the appointed 
evening, and with him came a tall man (Henri L. Stuart 
by name), with thin, brown reddish hair, a wax nose, and 
certainly a most remarkable looking man. He was a 
man of great intelligence, great energy, and as he walked 
into the room and shook hands with me he said : 

" My friend, Mr. Beattie, has told me something 
about your antecedents and your experience in New 
York ; and I have come here to have a talk with you, 
and to know what it is all about." 

I never felt so much as I did then as if a man had 
come into my room to take my measure to lay me out. 
We sat down, however, and I began at the beginning 
and told him the whole story. I gave him a history 
of the discoveries that I had made before I came to 


New York, and I told him of my affliction and my bad 
health ; I told him of the treatment that I had received 
in the city of New York, at the hands of Dr. Mott and 
of Dr. Stevens, and indeed of the whole medical pro- 
fession ; that I had no friends, no money, and no in- 
fluence ; I told him of all the objects and aims I had, 
what I anticipated in establishing the hospital, the need 
of it, and the benefits accruing to humanity and event- 
ually to science. He himself was an enthusiast, and 
seemed to have grasped the whole subject. He said : 

" It is very lucky that Dr. Stevens did not stand to 
his word, for you to deliver a lecture before the Col- 
lege of Physicians and Surgeons. If he had you would 
have been in the hands of a clique. It would not have 
represented the whole medical profession, and you would 
not have been as strong as you are at this moment, 
when you seem to have no friends whatever. Now, I 
will tell you what is to be done. We will rent Stuyve- 
sant Hall ; we will advertise in the newspapers for the 
doctors to attend a meeting, which is to be addressed by 
Dr. J. Marion Sims, late of Montgomery, Alabama, on 
the necessity of a hospital in the City of New York for 
the treatment of the diseases of women. We will in- 
vite all the leading doctors in town by special cards, and 
they will come to hear you, and will be wise enough to 
indorse what you have to say. If you tell your story to 
the crowd of doctors that I will get there, as you have 
told it to me, we will carry the day. If you don't make 
the d — dest failure that a man ever made in this world, 


or can make, in one month from now, instead of being 
a beggar, as you make yourself out, you will be dictator, 
and command the situation entirely.'' 

I could not understand this man. I could not pos- 
sibly see how he was to do this wonderful thing. I felt 
like a child in his hands. He sat down, and wrote out 
cards of invitation, and ordered seven hundred of them 
to be printed. He then went down and rented Stuy- 
vesant Hall. I told him frankly that I had no money, 
and that he must not run me in debt nor ruin me with 
expenses. He said : 

" Damn the expense ; never mind the money. We 
are obliged to have a certain amount of money, let what 
will happen, and somebody has got to furnish it." 

So he went along, but I did not see how he was 
going to achieve the wonderful thing of which he was 
sanguine. I did not know who he was, or what his busi- 
ness was, or where he came from. I seemed to be in 
the hands of a destiny that I could not control. 

The cards were issued, and the doctors were invited 
to meet at Stuyvesant Hall on a certain day of May, 
1854. Mr. Stuart had put it off to a certain date, be- 
cause he said there were public meetings, anniversary 
occasions, and other gatherings that would interfere with 
it, and that the people would not come out. And now 
the mystery surrounding him was soon to be solved. 

The day before the lecture was to be delivered he 
called at my house in the morning, and said : " I want 
you to go down town with me." I said, "What do 


you want of me?" "iNever mind," he said, "I want 
you to go with me ; so pnt on your hat, for there is no 
time to lose." The first place that we went to was to the 
"Tribune" office. We walked up-stairs, and he intro- 
duced me to Mr. Greeley. A poor little backwoods- 
man like myself was frightened when we came in con- 
tact with so great and busy a man as Horace Greeley. 
He said : " Mr. Greeley, I want to introduce you to my 
friend Dr. J. Marion Sims, late of Alabama. He has 
an enterprise here in the interest of humanity, to the 
public, and to everybody." And in a few brief words 
he set it forth. Then he said that he would like a few 
words of a little notice for me in the paper. Mr. Gree- 
ley said, " Mr. Stuart, write your notice and send it in." 
And he did so. 

Well, when we walked down stairs, I was frightened 
at what had happened. We walked along and went into 
the " Times " office, and there he introduced me to Mr. 
Raymond. He made the same little stereotyped speech, 
and received the same invitation to write out his notice. 
Then, when he came down, he wanted me to go to the 
" Herald " office ; and I said that I was tired of this and 
I did not like it, and that he might go in and make his 
speeches just as well without me. He said, u Why, you 
are my card, and I am playing you off." So I followed 
him like a dog. We ran up-stairs all the morning, I 
wondering at the man's audacity and the power which 
he seemed to exert, and the politeness with which he was 
received and treated wherever we went. Suffice it to say 


that he took me into fifteen editorial sanctums, and made 
the same little speech to every man there in authority. 
In the " Herald " we saw Mr. Hudson ; we did not see 
the great James Gordon Bennett. In every place that 
Mr. Stuart went he was treated with the same consider- 
ation ; in every office the editor promptly consented to 
what he wished. The next morning the leading papers 
of the city had little notices under the head of their city 
news, about four or five lines long, calling 'the attention 
of the medical profession and the public at large to the 
lecture that would be delivered in Stuyvesant Hall that 

About ten o'clock that morning I was up in the top 
of the house working away at my lecture, reading it over 
and becoming familiar with it, and wondering if I would 
have anything of an audience, and what they would do 
after they got together, when one of the children came 
running up and said, " Father, Dr. Mott is in the parlor." 
I had seen Dr. Mott but once in four months, and that 
was the time he turned me away in February, and I had 
felt very unkindly toward him after that. But, as I went 
down the steps, my heart warmed toward him. I knew 
what had brought him ; that it was the little notice 
in the newspapers that morning ; that he did not want 
to be left out in the cold if anything was to be done. 
When I saw him he was as pleasant as possible for him 
to be, as he always was with everybody, and he said : 

" I have come to see you this morning, and to tell 
you how sorry I am that I can not be with you this even- 


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BeO, has just arrived from Mobile, and we have a family 

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ing with you. I want to remind yon, howevei : I 

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that I could not mention it without honor. 

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better take your place in the lecturer's desk and com- 

I went, and as I walked to the place they took it for 
granted that I was the speaker of the evening, and that I 
was the man who was to address them. There was a lit- 
tle welcome in the way of applause, and I began reading 
my discourse, which took over half an hour, and when it 
was over I felt that I had done my duty to the profes- 
sion in laying my views before them, and I then sat 
down. There had been no preliminary organization ; 
nothing cut and dried beforehand ; no consultation with 
any one. After I took my seat the audience sat still, and 
everybody waited for everybody else. And then I felt 
a change come over my feelings. I had gone to that 
lecture-room full of vindictiveness toward the medical 
profession. I now saw that the most of the profession 
were interested in what I had to say, and that a few indi- 
viduals did not represent its public opinion. A long 
interval of suspense ensued, and nobody moved. At last 
Dr. Griscom arose and said : 

" I have waited for somebody to take the initiative in 
this matter ; but as there seems to be no previous under- 
standing, or the usual stereotyped resolutions and movers, 
I would begin the organization of this meeting by calling 
Dr. Edward Delafield to the chair." Dr. Beedle was 
requested to act as secretary. 

Dr. Griscom went on to approve everything I had 
said. He said he was glad to indorse everything " which 
had been so well said by the speaker, and the time had 


certainly arrived for initiating a movement such as I had 
proposed." He spoke in this laudatory strain for about 
ten or fifteen minutes. He showed plainly what was 
the duty of the profession under the circumstances, and 
then closed by moving that the chairman be empowered 
to appoint a committee of ten, five medical men and five 
laymen, to carry out the plan that had been laid before 
them for the establishment of a hospital for women. 
Dr. Gardiner seconded the motion ; he made a hand- 
some speech ; and there were some other speakers, and 
the motion was finally adopted. The resolution said 
that I must be one of the committee of five from the 
medical profession. The meeting adjourned, with a 
vote of thanks to the speaker of the evening. I went 
home happier than I was when I went to the meeting, 
and with my feelings entirely changed toward the medi- 
cal profession ; for I must frankly say that I was blam- 
ing the whole profession for the coldness and position 
of a few members of it. 

The next day Dr. Delafield sent me a little note, re- 
questing my presence at his house. He said he was very 
happy to assume the responsibility of chairman of the 
committee to organize the board of councilors, medical 
and laymen ; and he said that, as a matter of course, I 
would be on that committee, because I was the mover of 
the whole thing, and then he suggested the names of 
three others as being suitable for a working committee. 

I said immediately, " Doctor, these are good names, 
and good men ; but they do not represent the profession. 


I think that you ought to appoint men on the committee 
who represent the whole profession, because the profes- 
sion were there en masse, and indorsed this movement and 
went away. The only way that I can see that you can 
do this properly is, to represent the three medical insti- 
tutions of the city and the three medical colleges — Dr. 
Stevens, as president of the College of Physicians and 
Surgeons ; Dr. Green, as president of the New York 
Medical College ; Dr. Mott, of the New York Univer- 
sity; and Dr. French would represent the obstetrical 
branch of the profession. These are all men at the head 
of the medical profession in the city, and of public insti- 
tutions, and I think that the medical profession would 
be satisfied with their appointment." 

He said, "Doctor, your views are all correct, theo- 
retically ; but for practical working mine is the best. I 
do not think that you can get Dr. Green and Dr. Stevens 
to work together in the same organization. There has 
always been an antagonism in the medical profession to 
the New York Medical College." 

I replied, " Will you allow me to see Dr. Stevens ? " 
And he answered at once, " By all means, see him." 

I then said, " It is very likely that under other cir- 
cumstances Dr. Stevens would not consent ; but I, as an 
outsider, and in an independent movement here, after 
representing the facts, may be able to amalgamate these 
elements, which, perhaps, others could not accomplish. 

Dr. Delafield did not like this very much, but he 
was obliged to agree with me, and to my making the 


attempt to harness these two men together in the same 
movement. So I was not long in finding Dr. Stevens, 
when I thanked him for his suggestion and the idea he 
had given of lecturing before the profession. I also told 
him of what had occurred, and what we wanted him to 
do. He said that he would be happy to co-operate with 
us, and that he had not the least objection in the world 
to taking a place on the board or committee with Dr. 
Green or anybody else they would select. 

The next day I called on Dr. Delafield and told him 
that these gentlemen had all agreed to work together 
harmoniously in organizing the hospital movement. Dr. 
Delafield was not very well pleased with it ; but, as a 
matter of course, he had to accept. And then it was 
that the truth of what Mr. Stuart said one evening, when 
every thing looked dark around us, came to me, that I 
was no longer a beggar, but a dictator. Hot weather 
came on by this time, and nothing could be done dur- 
ing the summer. In the autumn I became acquainted 
with Mr. Peter Cooper, and in him I found a strong 
friend and adviser. I also became acquainted with Mr. 
E. C. Benedict. Both these men lent their great ener- 
gies to the enterprise, and their names were reported 
to Dr. Delafield as two of the committee of ^ve laymen 
that were to be selected. Dr. Delafield had lost inter- 
est in the institution when he could not control it, and 
put his own "tools" in the place to run it. 

"When the autumn came, my friend Mr. Stuart said, 
" Now you have done with the doctors all that you can 


hope to do. You have had their public indorsement, 
and they can not take that back. You must do the- work 
yourself, in your own way, without any regard to any- 
body else. Now, the way for you to do is for you to start 
out ; tell your same story that you have told to every- 
body, to some of the leading women of the city, and 
ask them to do the work. You have nothing to hope 
from the doctors, or from the profession, or from any- 
body, but by appeal to the heads and the hearts of intel- 
ligent women." 

The first woman that I attempted to reach was Mrs. 
"William E. Dodge. I had got acquainted with Mrs. 
Elisha Peck, living in Fourteenth Street, a very intelli- 
gent lady, and she knew Mrs. Dodge. I begged her to 
see her for me, and interest her in the organization of a 
board of lady managers for the hospital. She went to 
see her, and had a long talk with her. Mrs. Dodge said 
that she had so many irons in the fire already that she 
did not see her way clear to do anything with any 
new enterprise, and she had to decline. When Mrs. 
Peck came back I said to her, " Mrs. Peck, for six 
weeks I have been trying to get somebody to act as a 
nucleus around which we could gather the other women 
to form a board of lady managers for this hospital. I 
have utterly failed. Why will you not agree to be the 
first woman to inaugurate the movement, and to stand 
by it ? You fully understand and know all about it." 

She said, " I would gladly do it ; but I haven't the 
influence in the community that you want." 



I said, a It is certainly something to have one honest, 
true woman of good sense, to whom we can point, will- 
ing to indorse and work for the hospital." And Mrs. 
Elisha Peck, now Mrs. Apperthay, and now the presi- 
dent of the board of lady supervisors, was the first who 
agreed to stand by me. 

Through her I reached others, and eventually I had 
got ;.~; mi i dozen women who would co-operate in form- 
ing a board of lady managers. I wanted very much to 
see Mrs. Doremus. I had heard of her philanthropy, of 
her energy, and of her extraordinary efforts in charitable 
works, but I was told that her health was delicate, that 
she was feeble, and that she would therefore not be able 
to give me the time that was necessary. The Home for 
the Friendless had been orsranized and managed and run 
- "Irs. "William E. Dodge, Mrs. Stone, with Mrs. Peck 
as first directress. I went to see Mrs. Dodge, knowing 
her executive ability, and had a long talk with her. 
She was a great invalid, confined to her house most of 
the time, and she had gout worse than any woman that I 
ever saw in my life — occasionally I had seen a man that 
had it as badly as she — and altogether, physically, she 
had more than her hands full to do. But she weighed 
this matter well. She looked over the list of a dozen or 
so of names that I had, and she said : 

a Your work is a grand and noble one, and it is 
obliged to succeed: because such an institution as you 
propose is needed to-day, and it must be built. How I 
do wish that my own health were such that I could 


throw all my energies into it, and organize and initiate 
the movement for you. But that can not be. My ad- 
vice to you is to go straight to Mrs. Doremus. Those 
names are good enough in their own way ; but, with the 
exception of three or four, you had better not have had 
them. They are a dead weight ; for they have no social 
status, no fortune, and they have nothing that will help 
you in your organization. Pick out three names from 
this list, and it is all the twelve are worth. Now, my 
advice to you is, to go with this list to Mrs. Doremus, 
and see what she can do for you. Lay the whole sub- 
ject open to her precisely as you have to me, and I am 
sure that she will grasp it, and organize the work for you 

I saw Dr. Doremus, and asked him when I could go 
and see his mother. He replied that she was at her 
home every evening for tea, " and you can go at any 
time after eight o'clock. If you want to see her this 
evening I will tell her that you are coming." 

I said, " Yery well ; please prepare the way for me. 
Tell her that I am coming to talk about my hospital 
movement." I went promptly at eight o'clock, and 
went very timidly. She received me very kindly ; Dr. 
Doremus was sitting with her in the back parlor, and she 
allowed me to tell my story, which was not a very short 
one. I told it in all its details, and the moment I had 
finished she said, " These names that you have you must 
retain, because you have got them. Some of them are 
valuable ; but the majority are not worth anything at 


. - .v:. 

all, and are a dead weight ; but the way to organi 
hospital is to put it on a higher stratum in society. 
Mrs. David Codwise must be first directress of the in- 
stitution; Mis. William B. Astor, second directress; 
Mrs. Ogden Hoffman, third ; Mrs. Webster must be the 
s-r :rf-:.irr : 2^r~. -Ji :•:':: Lr? k ;~. rreiiirer." 

^But," I said, "Pray tell me what must Mrs. Do- 
remus be? Ton seem to be a regular Warwick, ap- 
piizri^ kii^i 11 i le.iifrs.. izf irr:::: :z :Le bn-k- 

She said, a I will be your chief marshal or chief 
counselor. I will write a note to Mrs. Codwise, and 
ask her when yon can come to see her. She has for 
forty years been a leader in the aristocracy of the town, 
and a woman of great influence and intelligence.'' 

The next day I received a note from Mrs. Doremus 
saying that Mrs. David Codwise would be glad to see me 
that evening at eight o'clock. This was on the 5th of 
7 rbruary, 1855. I shall never forget with what intense 
anxiety I mounted the steps to her residence in Twenty- 
seventh Street. I felt then that everything depended 
on that evening's visit. Mrs. Codwise was a woman evi- 
dently about sixty years of age, and one of the most 
charming and fascinating women that I ever met in all 
my life. She was very bright and very intelligent, very 
kind-hearted, generous, and sympathetic She saw that 
I was excited, and nervous, and anxious. I began to tell 
her my story about the sufferings of women, and what 
I had done for their relief ; about my coming to New 


York, and the treatment I had received at the hands of 
the doctors, or some of them; when, all at once, she 
stopped me before I had finished my story, and she said : 

" Let me say one word to you, and it is this : I am 
already convinced of the importance of the subject that 
you are laying before me, and I wish to say to you now, 
that I will give you all the influence that I can possibly 
exert in this community to carry forward your views to 
the fullest extent. Anticipating you in this regard, now 
I shall be very glad to hear the rest of your story." 

Suffice it to say, that Mrs. Codwise entered into the 
plan with heart and soul, and gave the matter all the 
thought and time that were necessary to organize the 
board of lady managers, and to put the work in good 
running order. This was on the 5th of February (1855), 
and a meeting of the ladies was called at the house of 
Mrs. Codwise on Saturday, the 10th of February (1855). 
I was requested to be present, to answer such questions 
as might be put to me. It was more for the purpose of 
introducing me personally, however, than to answer any 
questions. I was called on to answer a few questions, 
and to make a statement on the subject, which I did as 
briefly as possible ; leaving it to those whom I had in- 
doctrinated fully in its importance to make such state- 
ments and further explanations as they might see fit. 
The board of lady managers was organized precisely as 
Mrs. Doremus had said that it should be, and they at 
once appointed a committee to rent a building, and open 
a hospital as soon as possible. 


Soon after this meeting, when the hospital was or- 
ganized, at the house of Mrs. Codwise, on this 10th day 
of February, 1855, notices of it of course appeared in 
the newspapers. Two or three days after that date, Dr. 
John Watson called on Mrs. Doremus, and Dr. Gurdon 
Buck called on Mrs. Codwise. Each of the ladies was to 
be presented with arguments to show that there was no 
necessity for the hospital ; that they had made a great 
mistake ; that they had been deceived ; that the hospital 
would be an expensive luxury, and a very costly affair, 
as well as a short-lived one. That the few cases of 
vesico-vaginal fistula which occurred could be amply 
provided for in the New York Hospital, and that the 
surgeons of the New York Hospital were as competent 
to treat this class of cases as was the man that was then 
attempting to found the new "Woman's Hospital. The 
visit to Mrs. Doremus was a very violent one on the part 
of Dr. Watson. He was not at all politic ; as a man, he 
was very dogmatic, very impatient of opposition, and the 
impression made on Mrs. Doremus was very unfavorable. 
So he left her, and she was more determined than ever 
to persevere with the good work that she had under- 
taken, if it were possible for it to succeed. 

Dr. Gurdon Buck was a more moderate man, more 
politic, and had been not exactly the family physician 
to Mrs. Codwise, but on one occasion, when Mr. Codwise 
had had a carbuncle, or some other serious illness, had 
been called in consultation with Dr. Mott, as an opera- 
tion was necessary to be performed. Thus the family 


had had an opportunity of knowing him personally very 
well, and they felt very grateful to him for the kind 
professional services he had rendered on a former occa- 
sion. His visit to Mrs. Codwise was longer than usual. 
He went on to praise the cause of the New York Hos- 
pital very extensively, and told her of the successful 
operations they were performing ; but forgot to tell her 
that he owed the whole of it to me. This was a little 
oversight that I had before supplied on the occasion of 
one of my visits, and she understood the whole bearing 
of the question. She was a woman of the world, with 
large views on every subject, and was too polite to give 
offense to her visitor ; but she had the firmness to tell 
him that, as first directress of the institution, she should 
give it the whole force of her influence. 

The "Woman's Hospital from the day it was opened 
had no friends among the leaders — among hospital men. 
I was called a quack and a humbug, and the hospital 
pronounced a fraud. Still it went on with its work. 
Its wards were open to any doctor that cared to come, 
and the operations performed there were seen by most 
of the leading medical men in the city, and many others 
from different parts of the country. 


Recurrence of my old sickness — My assistant at the hospital — Charter of 
the Woman's Hospital, and obstacles overcome in procuring a site for 
a new structure. 

During the winter my health was tolerably good; 
but it was only by extraordinary care that it was kept so. 
I had to be very particular in my diet. I could eat no 
salt food, and even butter had to be deprived of its salt. 
I could eat no condiments, not a particle of pepper nor 
any vinegar; no fruits, and not a bit of sweetmeats. 
The least variation from this rigid diet would reproduce 
the diarrhoea. For six or eight months previous to this 
I had been in feeble health, and the sudden arresting of 
the diarrhoea produced dropsy of the lower extremities. 
In walking on the street, if I ever stumbled once, I 
would fall flat to the ground, with no power to rise. I 
well remember one day that I had gone down to Hart- 
well & Shepard's, in Maiden Lane, to make some pur- 
chases. In walking up Maiden Lane to Broadway I had 
a small parcel in my hand, or rather under my left arm. 
Under the old Howard House, which stood there at the 
time, there was a trunk store, opening on Maiden Lane. 
The merchant had a habit of putting his wares outside 


the door, and spreading them along on the curb-stone. 
There was a small valise on the curb-stone, which I 
did not see. I stumbled over it and fell literally into 
the gutter, with my face to the curb-stone, with my 
weight on my left arm, and the bundle under it. I 
floundered away, trying to get up, but I could not help 
myself. Presently a policeman stepped up to me and 
took me by the right hand and raised me up very gently, 
saying, as he did so, " I am surprised to see a man of 
your cloth (for I looked quite clerical) in the gutter so 
early in the day." I said, " I thank you, my dear fel- 
low ; but I am as sober as you are. I am a very sick 
man. I would thank you to help me into that Madison 
Avenue stage." He did so ; but he was quite in earnest 
in his first supposition that I was drunk. 

I have said that I went to see Mrs. Doremus on the 
fifth of February, 1855. My friend, Dr. Samuel W. 
Francis, had just lost his eldest son, of typhoid fever, 
while he was interne at Bellevue Hospital, and the dear 
old gentleman was nearly heart-broken. He resigned 
his membership in all the societies and all the public in- 
stitutions to which he belonged, and gave himself up, 
temporarily, entirely to grief. He wished even to quit 
the medical practice. On that day, a gentleman living 
at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-ninth Street, 
and one of his old friends, sent for him to see his child 
who was very ill with the croup. Dr. Francis could 
not go out, and so told the gentleman to call me to his 
babe. I was just on the eve of starting down to see 


Mrs. Doreinus, and made a hasty visit to the child and 
prescribed for it. I was twenty minutes behind my en- 
gagement. When I had gone from Madison Avenue to 
Fifth, along Twenty-ninth Street, there was some ice on 
the pavement. In returning from Fifth Avenue to Mad- 
ison Avenue, and just opposite !No. 12, where the street 
was covered with snow when I had gone by there ten 
or fifteen minutes before, the servant at No. 12 had 
cleaned off the snow, and had left a coating of ice on 
the stones. On my return I was walking very rapid- 
ly, and as I passed from the snow to the pavement my 
heels slipped and went out from under me, and I fell 
sprawling on my back, with such violence that it now 
seems to me that it would have killed me, had it not 
been for the rim of my stiff old-fashioned stove-pipe hat, 
which broke the fall. 

The shock was very great. I was stunned for a mo- 
ment, so that I did not know where I was. I climbed 
up on the steps and sat there a few minutes, and after 
a while I was seemingly all right again. I went home, at 
89 Madison Avenue, which was just around the corner, 
and waited there till I thought I was completely re- 
covered, and then made my visit to Mrs. Doremus, which 
I have already related. But a few days after this blow 
the diarrhoea returned. It increased in spite of all my 
remedies and dietetic precautions. 

The Woman's Hospital was inaugurated at 83 Madison 
Avenue, on the first of May, 1855. For a month before 
I had been in bed almost all the time. I was very weak 


and exhausted, and the committee appointed to locate 
the rooms for the hospital chose the place they did be- 
cause it was in close proximity to my house, with a view 
to saving me as much exertion as possible. At the in- 
auguration of the hospital I was very feeble, but still I 
was determined to do the work. Yery soon I com- 
menced performing one operation a day. The hospital 
was full from the day that it was opened. We had 
about thirty beds. It was a charity; there were no 
" pay-patients " admitted. One clause of the by-laws 
provided that the assistant-surgeon should be a woman. 
I appointed Mrs. Browne, a widowed sister of my friend 
Henri L. Stuart, who had been so efficient in organizing 
the hospital. She was matron and general superin- 

The hospital was kept open all summer, and I did 
what work I could ; but I did not entirely recover from 
the diarrhoea until the autumn. The work was well and 
efficiently done, notwithstanding my bad health. Pa- 
tients were applying, and coming from a distance, in 
larger numbers than could be accommodated. The hos- 
pital had been opened about six months, when I told the 
board of lady managers that I must have an assistant. 
They were glad to accommodate me, and told me to 
select the man that I wanted to assist me. When I first 
went to New York, Dr. Frank IT. Johnson was the lead- 
ing practitioner of the city, and, next to Dr. Francis, 
perhaps one of my best friends. He had a son, Dr. F. 
U. Johnson, Jr., who had just graduated. I offered him 


the appointment of assistant - surgeon to the hospital. 
He said that he would be very glad to accept it, but 
that he was soon to be married, and was going to locate 
in the country near Cooperstown. I then offered the 
place to Dr. George F. Shrady. He, too, was about to 
be married, and for some cause or other he did not see 
lit to accept it. 

Soon after this, a young friend of mine at the South, 
whom I had known from her early girlhood, Miss Kate 
Duncan, was married to Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet, of 
New York. As I was looking for an assistant, I did not 
know that I could more handsomely recognize the friend- 
ship of former days than to appoint the husband of Mrs. 
Emmet as my assistant. So, to the accident of good 
fortune in marrying a beautiful Southern young woman, 
Dr. Emmet owes his appointment to a position which he 
has long and honorably filled in the Woman's Hospital. 
The first anniversary of the Woman's Hospital was 

held at Clinton Hall, in Astor Place, on the 

day of January, 1856. From this time on the hospital 
flourished. As soon as the hospital was opened, the no- 
tices of the work done there brought me business to a 
great amount, and very soon my private consultation 
rooms were filled. Soon after the hospital was organ- 
ized, on the 10th of February, notices of it were pub- 
lished in the newspapers, and the public began to know 
considerable of its object- 
Twelve months had rolled around when the board of 
lady managers and working friends of the institution 


saw that it had been inaugurated at a most opportune 
moment, that it was an instrument for effecting an 
immense amount of good, and that the necessity for a 
larger institution was of prime importance. Then it was 
that steps were taken to get a charter from the State for 
the " Woman's Hospital of the State of New York." 
This new hospital was to be on a grand scale ; it was to 
be under a board of governors, composed of twenty-seven 
of the leading men of the city, while the. board of lady 
managers of the present working hospital were to be 
transferred to the new organization, when complete, as a 
board of lady supervisors, having the general control of 
its domestic affairs. 

The charter of the Woman's Hospital was obtained 
in 1857. Hon. James Beekman was my chief adviser 
and coadjutor. I spent a great deal of time at Albany 
that winter, neglecting my private business very much, 
and leaving Dr. Emmet in charge of the hospital, and 
also in the care of some of my private business. I had 
to make frequent visits to Albany, to lobby and to hire 
help among the members of the Legislature, and, as a 
matter of course, my affairs at home were very much 
neglected. I recollect returning from Albany, and Dr. 
Emmet saying, " It seems to me that you are spending 
too much time in Albany. A larger hospital than the 
one we have is hardly necessary. It is rather a heroic 
undertaking, and it seems to me that you ought to be 
a little more selfish ; for the present hospital is good 
enough for your purpose." 


Of course I had larger views than this, and I said 
that I did not establish the hospital solely for money and 
aggrandizement. As soon as I saw the necessity for a 
greater one, with a larger board of surgeons, I was anx- 
ious to establish it. The hospital was unpopular, be- 
cause it was a one-man power, and because all the advan- 
tages that accrued were to the surgeon and his assistant. 

The most difficult thing I achieved, in connection 
with the founding of the Woman's Hospital, was the pro- 
curing of the land on which the building to-day stands. 
This land belonged to the city, being the old Potter's 
Field in time of the cholera in 1832. At that time the 
city could not alienate any of its domain without the 
consent of the Legislature. The Legislature had to pass 
an act authorizing the city to give away any of its prop- 
erty when it chose to do so. First, then, it was neces- 
sary to go before the Board of Aldermen, and get them 
to pass a resolution asking the Legislature to pass an act 
authorizing the city to make the asked-for transfer. This 
I accomplished, after a great deal of hard work and po- 
litical wire-pulling ; Dr. Mott, Dr. Francis, and even the 
dear old lady, Mrs. Doremus, besides Mr. Beekman, 
appearing before the Board of Aldermen, to testify as to 
the workings of the hospital, and as to the needs of a 
larger institution. 

Mr. Beekman and myself, as soon as the ordinance 
was passed, went to the Legislature, and had that body 
pass the necessary act authorizing the city to give away 
the land to us. Then, with this authority, we came back 


to the city fathers, and they passed the ordinance deed- 
ing the land to us, which only awaited the signature of 
the mayor. It was passed on the very last day of the 
season, and the last day of the year (1856). It was the 
year in which Mayor Wood went out of office as mayor. 
He was busy that night, signing documents that were 
necessary to have his official signature before his term 
expired; and in the hurry of the moment the act giv- 
ing the land to the Woman's Hospital failed to receive 
his official signature — not because he was opposed to it, 
for he was in favor of it, warmly in favor of it, but be- 
cause, in the hurry of the hour, his secretary forgot to 
bring it to his notice. The work had thus to be done all 
over again. 

A new Common Council came into power, and we had 
to get this new board to pass another ordinance, asking 
the Legislature to give the grant again. We had to go 
before the Legislature for a new act, which was passed 
after the same lobbying, and this was brought back to 
the city authorities, who then agreed to give us the title 
to the land. But Tiemann was now the mayor. Person- 
ally he was in favor of the Woman's Hospital ; but on 
economic grounds was opposed to it, and hence vetoed 
the bill. I knew very well that I had influence enough 
in the Common Council to have the bill passed over his 
veto. He saw that I was about to do so, and he sent 
for me for a consultation in reference to it. He said : 

" I want to have this land given to you ; I believe in 
the Woman's Hospital, and I w r ould like to see it firmly 


established on a grand scale. But there are so many 
people asking land from the city for various purposes, 
there -is such a disposition to 'grab' and steal, that, on 
principle, I am obliged to oppose you in order to keep 
the others away. Now, if you will agree to give us fifty 
beds, forever, for the use of the city poor, I will agree 
that you shall have the property." 

Of course, I acceded to it, telling him that if I were 
not able to give him fifty beds for the use of the city 
after the hospital was well established, it would be 
hardly worth the time I had bestowed upon it. Thus 
we got the title to the land on which the hospital was 

Full titles were obtained for the land in April, 1S58. 
It was situated between Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Streets, 
and Lexington and Fourth Avenues, comprising a whole 
block. As before stated, it was the old Potter's Field 
during the time of the cholera in 1832. The west half 
was full of dead bodies, which had been buried in tiers 
of coffins eighteen deep. The president of the Board of 
Governors, Hon. James W. Beekman, got possession of 
the property, and obtained permission to remove the bod- 
ies. It took nearly all summer to accomplish it. Twenty- 
seven thousand bodies were removed from this piece of 
ground, less than two hundred feet square. They were 
neatly replaced in new wooden boxes, and then reburied 
on Ward's Island. It had been twenty-five years since 
they were buried. There was nothing offensive in the 
exhumation, and no sickness occurred among the men 


that were employed to do the work of removal and dis- 
interment. There was no necessity for disturbing the 
eastern half of the lot, where there were a few isolated 
graves only, the reason for this being that the solid 
rock came very near the surface at this portion of the 

When the charter was obtained for the Woman's 
Hospital the Board of Governors had a meeting, selected 
an architect, and adopted a plan of the building. Mr. 
John W. Rich was selected as the architect, at the earnest 
solicitation of Mr. Robert B. Minturn. A goodly num- 
ber of the Board of Governors were not satisfied with 
Mr. Rich ; but still his nomination and election were 
pressed so strongly by Mr. Minturn that he was finally 
appointed. He drew the plans of the hospital, modeling 
it somewhat after St. Luke's. I was opposed to the plan 
and wanted them to adopt the pavilion system ; but no 
decided change in the plans was made. In 1861, I went 
abroad for the first time. I should remark that after 
the autumn of 1855 I had no attack of diarrhoea, which 
had followed me from 1849 to 1855 — just six years. I 
had recovered speedily from the attack that was brought 
on by the fall in the previous February, to which I have 
referred. After that time my health was reasonably 
good, and I had no return of the serious illness that for 
six years had stuck to me, off and on. 

It was in June (1861) that I went abroad, because I 
needed a little holiday. I had worked very hard and 
was tired out ; but I went more particularly to investi- 


gate the hospital treatment in the Old World. The re- 
sults of my investigation went to show the superiority 
of the pavilion system over the block system. When I 
returned home Mr. Rich was dead, and Mr. Harrison 
had been selected to take his place as architect of the 
hospital. He and I were in perfect accord as to the 
plans which he drew, which I submitted to the Board of 
Governors, and they were adopted. 


My reception in Dublin— Visit Dr. Simpson at Edinburgh— Go to Paris- 
Perform operations at the Paris hospitals, and furore in consequence 
— Successful operations in Brussels— An extreme case of vesico-vaginal 
fistula successfully treated— A patient from the south of France oper- 
ated upon— Startling result from use of chloroform, and method of 

The first point I touched when I went abroad was 
Queenstown. I landed there on the 31st of August 
(1861), and went at once to Dublin. There a hearty 
welcome awaited me from my Irish brethren. I re- 
mained about ten days in Dublin, and was dined and 
feted to satiety. Dr. McClintock was then Master of 
the Edinburgh Kotunda Hospital. He received me kind- 
ly, and introduced me to the leading members of the 
profession. I was glad of an opportunity to see many 
cases in the Rotunda Hospital. None welcomed me more 
warmly in behalf of my work than the chief of obstet- 
rics in all Ireland, Dr. Fleetwood Churchill. All were 
anxious to see me perform my operations for vesico- 
vaginal fistula ; and after a while a case was found, on 
which I operated with satisfaction to all present. I was 
in Dublin about ten days ; and every night I had to dine 
with some of the leading men of the day. Once, I 


was invited to a great dinner given by Dr. Stokes to 
about twenty guests. Among the company was the 
great Irish lawyer and member of Parliament, Mr. Butt. 
He was one of the wittiest men I ever heard talk in all 
my life. He kept the table in a roar of laughter all the 
time, and I wondered how a man could have such an in- 
exhaustible fund of anecdote as he had, which he told as 
I know that no other man could have done. They were 
a party of great eaters and great drinkers, and they were 
very much surprised that I ate so little and drank noth- 
ing at all. They wanted to know if I were a typical 
American, and representative of my country. I told 
them that I was an anomaly — a sui generis / it was my 
idiosyncrasy, and that I could as well have been an Irish- 
man as an American, and that I deserved no credit for 
my peculiarities and temperate methods of living. 

In coming to Europe, the man that I most wanted to 
see was Professor Simpson, of Edinburgh. His labors 
and contributions to the literature of the dav were the 


most valuable that had been made to the growing science 
of gynaecology. So, in leaving Dublin, I went by way 
of Belfast to Edinburgh, where I was warmly welcomed 
by Simpson, Syme, Chrisleston, and Matthews Duncan. 
Matthews Duncan was a pupil of Simpson, a young man 
just married and laying for himself the foundation upon 
which he has subsequently built such a magnificent pro- 
fessional career. I had performed many of Simpson's 
operations; I was the first to operate according to his 
method for dysmenorrhea. He had represented the 

DR. SYME. 309 

operation as being attended with no danger. I bad bad 
serious haemorrhages follow it — two of an alarming char- 
acter — and I thought that possibly I did not perform the 
operation precisely as he did. So I was anxious to see 
as much of his practice as I could, and particularly one 
of his operations on the cervix uteri. Fortunately, he 
had a fitting subject for the operation in a young mar- 
ried woman, about thirty years old, who had come from 
India expressly to consult him. I saw that .he performed 
the operation in theory only, but making a more pro- 
found sensation than I had ever done. Yet he insisted 
that he had never had a case of accident after this opera- 

Chrisleston was then no longer a young man, but 
of wonderful endurance physically. I shall never for- 
get his walking me to the top of Arthur's Seat and 
down again. I was awfully fatigued, but he did not 
seem to mind it in the least. I saw a great deal of Dr. 
Syme, and saw him operate repeatedly. I have seen, 
all over the world, great surgeons operate, in my own 
country, in London, and in Paris ; but I have never seen 
such an operator as Dr. Syme. He was a man of re- 
markable diagnostic powers, infallible judgment, and 
was wonderfully rapid and precise in execution. All 
this was necessary before the introduction of anaesthetics. 
With the introduction of anaesthetics the rapid, brilliant 
operator has disappeared. Syme was rather reticent; 
but, somehow, he took a wonderful fancy to me. I was 
with him at his country-place frequently, dining with his 


family without ceremony. When I was about to take 
my leave for Aberdeen, I timidly, one day, while sitting 
in his office, asked Dr. Syme if he would have the kind- 
ness to give me a card of introduction to Professor Keith, 
of that city. He surprised me very much by saying, " I 
shall do no such thing." He looked up, to see how I 
would take it, for I was really surprised, and immediately 
finished his sentence by saying, " For a man that would 
not receive Marion Sims on the presentation of his own 
card would not receive him on the presentation of 
mine." However, he gave me the card of introduction 

"When I got to Aberdeen, I was surprised to find that 
Simpson was not the god in his own country that he 
was abroad. When I told them of my accidents fol- 
lowing his operation on the cervix uteri, and that he had 
none of the sort, they laughed at my credulity. They 
gave me the name of a doctor living not ten miles 
distant from that city, whose wife had been operated on 
by Dr. Simpson, and she died within forty-eight hours 
afterward. Of course, this surprised me exceedingly, 
and when I returned to Edinburgh I spoke to one of the 
eminent surgeons of the town, who was a friend of Dr. 
Simpson's, and not an enemy — for the doctors of that 
city seemed to be divided into two classes, those who 
were the friends of Dr. Simpson and those who were 
not — and this gentleman told me that he knew of one 
death following the operation, and that in Dr. Simpson's 
own hands. 


I subsequently returned to Dublin, where I related 
what I had heard in regard to the dangers of the opera- 
tions in Dr. Simpson's hands, and some of the doctors 
there said : " We did not tell you before you went to 
Edinburgh, for we saw that you had an exalted opinion 
of Dr. Simpson and his work, and that to such an extent 
that we were not disposed to spoil your ideal of the 
man." Then I was told of the case by Dr. McClintock 
himself: that he had sent, about four years before, a 
patient from the Isle of Man to Simpson for treatment ; 
that the patient was operated on by him in his usual 
manner, and that she died in three or four days — 
whether from haemorrhage, or from peritonitis, he never 
knew ; but certainly death followed the operation. And 
yet Dr. Simpson claimed absolute immunity from any 
bad results in this operation. 

Simpson was exceedingly anxious to see me operate 
for vesico-vaginal fistula. He had performed the opera- 
tion two or three times himself, and was anxious , to 
see my method of operating, but he had no patient for 
me. In London I was received as cordially as I was in 
Dublin or in Edinburgh. Spencer "Wells, Henry Sav- 
age, Routh, and others of the Samaritan Hospital, all 
gave me a hearty and cordial welcome. I was called 
upon to operate on a case of vesico-vaginal fistula in the 
Samaritan Hospital. The case was a difficult one. The 
operation was satisfactorily done; but the patient died 
five or six days afterward. This was the first patient 
that I had ever lost by this operation, and I had per- 


formed it hundreds of times. The post-mortem examina- 
tion revealed the fact that the ureters had been closed by 
the suture, and death resulted from kidney complication. 

I arrived in Paris about the first of September (1861). 
I soon made the acquaintance of my friend Dr. John- 
stone, who had long been a resident in Paris, though not 
then a practitioner, of medicine. He was devoting him- 
self to literary pursuits, as the well-known correspondent 
of the "New York Times," under the nom de plume of 
" MalakofL" He was an Ohio man, educated in New 
York, and went to Paris when he was quite a young 
man. Dr. Johnstone informed me that the operations 
associated with my name had never yet been successfully 
performed in Paris. Joubard de Lamballe had per- 
formed, or rather operated, over and over again, and had 
had public learned discussions on the subject; but no- 
body had ever seen any successful operations for vesico- 
vaginal fistula by him. 

I was in Paris only a few days when Dr. Huguier of 
the Beaujon Hospital called and invited me to visit the 
hospital. I did not then speak a word of French. It 
was at Dr. Johnstone's suggestion that I was invited, I 
believe. Dr. Huguier was exceedingly anxious to see the 
operation, as Dr. Johnstone had informed him that the 
operation in my hands was uniformly successful, which 
he greatly doubted. He had a case of a fistula, just in 
the neck of the bladder, which I supposed was favorable 
for an operation ; but it was not, for it had been operated 
upon previously by some one unsuccessfully. 


On the day appointed for the operation, it was noised 
abroad among the doctors of all the hospitals that I was 
there, and about to perform an operation for Huguier. 
Drs. Nekton, Denonvilliers, and other distinguished 
surgeons left their hospital services and came to the Beau- 
jon to witness it. It was raining, and the light was very 
bad. I was then forty-eight years old, and I had never 
used spectacles for operation. But, with Dr. Nekton's 
head between me and my patient, it was impossible for 
me to see without glasses, and so, for the first time, I 
put them on. Suffice it to say, the operation was per- 
formed to the satisfaction of Nekton, Huguier, and all 
who witnessed it. At the end of a week the patient was 
cured, which was a great surprise to all of them, for they 
did not believe that the case was possibly curable. 

A few days after this, Dr. Vernier kindly invited me 
to visit his ward at the St. Louis Hospital, where he had 
a case of vesico-vaginal fistula of enormous dimensions, 
and in which the base of the bladder was almost entirely 
destroyed. The fundus of the bladder was prolapsed 
through the fistula, and protruded externally from the 
body, thus inverting the bladder. This was supposed to 
be absolutely incurable ; but, really, it was much easier 
to operate on, and a cure was much more certain, than 
in the case that I had operated on for Huguier. When 
that case was cured at the end of a week, it created a 
regular furore in the Paris hospital circles. 

Yery soon after this Professor Loquier, of the Hotel 
Dieu, hearing of what had been done at the Beaujon, and 



also at the St. Louis hospital, kindly invited me to come 
and perform an operation on a patient of his. Here I 
performed in the amphitheatre, in which Joubard de 
Lamballe had performed all his operations. I operated 
on a case which was supposed to be very difficult to 
cure — by any of the older methods it would have been 
impossible to cure. Suffice it to say that this operation 
was performed in the presence of distinguished surgeons 
and a large concourse of students, and in a week's time 
the patient was entirely cured. I had had three cases 
in succession, which greatly added to the interest in this 
new departure in surgery, and as a matter of course it 
was the theme of professional gossip of the day in that 

Soon after this I was invited by Yelpeau to go to La 
Charite and operate on a young woman, who had been 
the subject, so it was said, of seventeen previous opera- 
tions by Joubard de Lamballe, all of which had resulted 
in failure. He had been able to reduce the size of the 
fistula about one half, but it was now large enough to 
pass the finger through easily into the cavity of the blad- 
der. This was a great occasion. Yelpeau was incredu- 
lous about the success of the operation, though he had 
been told that three cases had been operated on success- 
fully. He stood at my back and carefully watched 
every step of the operation. There were many distin- 
guished surgeons present, including ITelaton (one of the 
great surgeons of the day). Young Mr. Souchon, who 
was then a medical student in Paris, and a pupil of Yel- 


peau. He was interne at La Charite. He translated to 
Yelpeau every step of the operation, although he could 
see for himself. But when it was finished Yelpeau took 
me by the hand and thanked me very much. He said 
he would watch the day of the taking out of the sutures 
with a great deal of interest. I assured him that the 
case would certainly be cured. He found the sutures at 
the end of a week just as I had placed them. I was 
called on for a history of vesico- vaginal fistula, and the 
method of operating. I spoke in English, and my young 
friend translated very rapidly in French. This was con- 
sidered the highest triumph possible for me, being the 
fourth successful operation in three or four weeks. 

Soon after this operation, Dr. Deroubaix, surgeon to 
King Leopold of Belgium, and the first surgeon in Brus- 
sels, came to Paris. He said he had heard a great deal 
of what I had done in the hospitals of Paris in regard to 
indoctrinating the profession for vesico-vaginal fistula, 
and that he wished me to come to Brussels and demon- 
strate the operation in the hospitals there. I accepted 
his invitation and went to Brussels a few days afterward. 
I went into the hospital at nine o'clock in the morning, 
and was operating until twelve at noon, or even later in 
the day. I performed three operations that morning, to 
illustrate the different varieties of this terrible infirmity. 
The operations were satisfactorily done ; but one of the 
patients died about a week afterward. The post-mortem 
showed that the operation was done satisfactorily and 
was perfectly successful; but the nurse, in using the 


catheter, had driven it through the posterior wall of the 
bladder around into the peritoneal cavity of the bladder, 
resulting in death — an accident which would not have 
happened in the hands of an ordinary nurse accustomed 
to such cases. 

However, the doctors were so well pleased with the 
operations that they gave me a big dinner, and made 
speeches at me, not a word of which did I understand. 
They elected me a corresponding fellow of the Royal 
Academy of Medicine, and recommended my name to 
the Government for the Legion of Honor. 

I then returned to Paris, intending to go to Yienna 
to show the operations there. I have forgotten to men- 
tion the fact that, about three or four years before I went 
to Paris, an American surgeon had gone there claiming 
to be the author of the operations for vesico-vaginal 
fistula. He gave me some credit in having initiated the 
work, but claimed for himself the honor of perfecting it. 
He even claimed my speculum and all the instruments 
as his own. He had set the blade of the speculum at a 
little more of an acute angle with the handle, and he 
had put an ivory handle to the tenaculum, instead of 
ebony. He used what was called a " button " for the 
fastening of the silver wire. He had operated only 
once in Paris. The operation was only a partial suc- 
cess; for very soon after the sutures were removed 
there was an absorption of the line of union, the fis- 
tula opening and the urine escaping. So his opera- 
tions were pronounced a failure. Of course, there was 


no enthusiasm over it, because he had not succeeded. 
Nobody had been able to follow his method, or to cure 
a single patient during the whole four years preceding 
my advent in Paris. 

I had now performed four operations, in four of the 
most prominent hospitals in Paris, and before all the 
leading surgeons of the city, and my work was the 
theme of conversation among medical men everywhere. 
Men attending the hospitals wrote to different parts of 
the world, even to Russia and back to my own country, 
about the work that I was doing in Paris. 

Yery soon after the operation for Yelpeau, in La 
Charite Hospital, Dr. Mungenier, who had taken a great 
interest in me and my work, and who, with Dr. John- 
stone had been prominent in introducing me to the 
surgeons of hospitals, brought me a woman about forty 
years old who had had a vesico-vaginal fistula for more 
than twenty years. She had been seen and examined by 
many of the leading surgeons of Paris, and pronounced 
incurable. She had also been seen by the American 
surgeon who preceded me in Paris three years pre- 
viously, and who had refused to operate upon her. The 
case was certainly a very bad one. The whole base of the 
bladder was destroyed, the mouths of the ureters were 
plainly visible, and the urine could be seen passing in 
little spurts from these narrow openings. The bladder 
was inverted and hung outside of the body, in a little 
hernial mass as large as a child's fist. Her condition was 
very deplorable, and my friend Dr. Mungenier was very 


much, surprised when I told him she could easily be 
cured by a single operation. He said. •• But I can't get a 
bed for her in any hospital.'' I replied. "That makes 
no difference ; I will take her to the Hotel Voltaire and 
engage a room and will pay the expenses myself, just to 
show you that I can cure her." 

He was very much surprised that I should be will- 
ing to do this, and then he said. *'* I can bring many of 
the leading surgeons from the different hospitals m see 
you operate if you will let me. I agreed to it. and the 
operation was performed at the Hotel Voltaire on the 
15th of October, 1561. I was greatly surprised to see 
what a number of leading physcians were not only will- 
ing, but anxious, to witness the operation in private 
practice. Among them were Xelaton, Velpeau, Civi- 
ale. Baron Larrey, Sir Joseph Olliffe. Campbell. Huguier, 
and others of the most distinguished men of Paris, num- 
bering to about seventeen or eighteen. Dr. Johnstone 
gave the anesthetic. The operation required about an 
horn' ; the fistula was closed to the satisfaction of every- 
body present. In one week's time the sutures, twelve in 
number, were removed and the patient was found per- 
fectly cured. 

As a matter of course, these five successful operations 
in three or four weeks in the great eitv of Paris, created 
a furore among the profession in regard to the cura- 
bility of an affection which they had until now sup- 
posed to be totally incurable. 

Having thus demonstrated clearly the principles and 


success of the operation in the hospitals of Paris, I was 
on the eve of going to Yienna to do something in that 
city, when Dr. Campbell, the great accoucheur of Paris, 
told Dr. Nelaton that I was about to leave. Dr. Nek- 
ton asked Dr. Campbell to see me and beg me to remain 
for a few days, till he could go for a patient to come to 
me from the south of France. The patient had been 
seen six or eight months previous, and pronounced 
perfectly incurable. " But," said he to Dr. Campbell, 
" since I have witnessed what I have in the hands of Dr. 
Sims, and since I have heard of the success attending 
his operations in other hospitals, I think that he can cure 
almost any case of the sort. I am anxious to get his 
opinion in the case of this lady, who belongs to the 
higher walks of life." Of course I was too good a tac- 
tician to let such an opportunity as this pass without im- 
proving it, and I immediately sent word that I would 
await the arrival of his patient from the country. I did 
not get to Yienna at all, as a consequence. 

His patient arrived in due time. She was about 
twenty-one. She had been delivered two years before. 
The child had hydrocephalus, the pressure of its enor- 
mous head produced a sloughing of the soft parts of the 
mother, which resulted in, seemingly, a total destruction 
of the base of the bladder. She was young, beautiful, 
rich, accomplished ; and, as Dr. Eelaton had told her six 
months before that she was absolutely incurable, she was 
praying for death, but in vain, for patients seldom die of 
afflictions of this kind. In all my experience I have never 


seen a case of this kind which was attended with such 
extreme suffering. The constant discharge of the urine 
had created an inflammation and excoriation of the exter- 
nal parts with which it came in contact, in some places 
producing sloughings as large as a pea. It looked like 
localized small-pox. She was obliged to take anodynes 
in large quantities to relieve the burning pain attendant 
upon her sufferings. She passed sleepless nights and 
restless days, and was altogether one of the most unhap- 
py women I have ever seen. 

On examination of the case I saw that it was exceed- 
ingly difficult. At first I was almost disposed to say it 
was incurable, but after a more thorough investigation 
I said to Dr. Xelaton that I was sure she could be cured ; 
that it would require a little preparatory operation which 
would take a week or ten days, and the radical operation 
would be performed afterward, and I was convinced she 
could be restored perfectly. I went on to explain to 
him how the operation was to be done, thinking as a mat- 
ter of course that he simply wanted my opinion on the 
question. He heard me patiently and said, u I under- 
stand everything that you say, but I don't feel competent 
to do the work. I have not the experience nor the skill 
of manipulation that you possess, and, if you will kindly 
take charge of my patient and perform this operation in 
my stead, I shall be greatly obliged to you." As a mat- 
ter of course I accepted the case, which prevented me 
from making my proposed visit to Vienna. 

The first operation, as I had indicated to Dr. Xelaton, 


was performed in the country, and in two weeks after- 
ward the radical operation was performed at St. Ger- 
main, an hour's distance from Paris. Dr. Nelaton, Dr. 
Johnstone, Dr. Campbell, Dr. Beylard and Dr. Alan Her- 
bert were my assistants. 

Dr. Campbell was the great accoucheur of Paris at 
that time. He was in the habit of giving chloroform to 
his patients in labor, and was selected by the family to give 
the chloroform because of his known reputation in using 
it. The operation was begun at ten o'clock in the morn- 
ing of the 19th of December, 1861, Dr. Nelaton sitting 
by and watching every stage of it with the greatest at- 
tention. At the end of about forty minutes all the su- 
tures were introduced and ready to be secured. Just at 
this time I discovered a certain amount of lividity in the 
mucous surfaces, and I called Dr. Nekton's and Dr. 
Johnstone's attention to it, and said, " It seems to me the 
blood is stagnating." I asked Dr. Campbell if the pulse 
and respiration were all right ; he said " Yes, all right ; 
go on." Scarcely were these words uttered when he 
suddenly cried out, " Stop ! Stop ! No pulse, no breath- 
ing." And sure enough the patient looked as if she 
was dead. Dr. Nelaton was not in the least discon- 
certed. He quietly ordered the head to" be lowered and 
the body to be inverted, that is, the head to hang down 
while the heels were raised in the air by Dr. Johnstone, 
the legs resting one on each of his shoulders. Dr. 
Campbell supported the thorax, Dr. Herbert went to an 
adjoining room for a spoon with the handle of which 


the jaws were forced open, and I handed Dr. Xelaton 
the tenaculum, which he hooked in the tongue, pulling 
it out between the teeth, and gave it in charge of Dr. 
Herbert, while Dr. Beylard was assigned to the duty of 
making efforts at artificial respiration. Dr. Xelaton or- 
dered and overlooked every movement. They held the 
patient in this inverted position for a long time, making 
artificial respiration, before there was any manifestation 
of returning life. Dr. Campbell, who published an ac- 
count of the case subsequently, said in his report that it 
was fifteen minutes, and that it seemed an age. My 
notes of the case, written a few hours afterward, make 
it twenty minutes that the patient was held in this posi- 
tion. Be this as it may, the time was so long that I 
thought it useless to make any further efforts, and I said, 
" Dr. !N~elaton, our patient is dead, and you might as 
well stop all efforts." But Dr. Xelaton never lost hope, 
and by his quiet, cool, brave manner he seemed to infuse 
his spirit into his assistants. At last there was a feeble 
inspiration, and after a long time another, and by and 
by another ; and then the breathing became regular. 
When the pulse and respiration were well re-established, 
Dr. ^Nekton ordered the patient to be laid on the table. 
This was done very gently, but the moment the body 
was placed horizontally the pulse and breathing instantly 
ceased. Quick as thought the body was again inverted, 
the head downward and the feet over Dr. Johnston's 
shoulders, and the same manoeuvres as before were put 
into execution. Dr. Campbell thinks it did not take 


such a long time to re-establish the action of the lungs 
and heart as in the first instance, but it seemed to me to 
be quite as long, for the same painful, protracted and 
anxious efforts were made as before. Feeble signs of re- 
turning life eventually made their appearance. Respira- 
tion was at first irregular and at long intervals ; soon it 
became more regular, and the pulse could then be count- 
ed, but it was very feeble and intermittent. "When they 
thought she had quite recovered they laid her horizon- 
tally on the table again, saying "She's all right this 

But the moment the body was placed in a horizontal 
position the respiration ceased a third time, the pulse 
was gone, and she looked the picture of death. But Dr. 
Nelaton and his assistants, by a simultaneous effort, 
quickly inverted the body a third time, with a view of 
throwing all the blood possible to the brain, and again 
they began their efforts at artificial respiration. It 
seemed to me that she would never breathe again, but at 
last there was a spasmodic gasp, and after a long time 
another, and after another long interval there was a 
third, and then a fourth more profoundly ; there was 
then a long yawn, and the respiration after this be- 
came tolerably regular. She was held in a vertical po- 
sition until she in a manner became semi-conscious, 
opened her eyes, looked wildly around, and asked what 
was the matter. She was then, and not until then, laid 
on the table, and we all thanked Dr. Nelaton for having 
saved the life of this lovely woman. In a few minutes 


more the operation was finished, but of course without 
any more chloroform. The sutures were quickly assorted 
and separately secured, and the patient put to bed. On 
the eighth day thereafter I had the happiness to remove 
the sutures, in the presence of Dr. Nelaton, and to show 
him the success of the operation. 

I have detailed the circumstances of this interesting 
case at great length, because I believe it goes as far to 
establish the proper method of resuscitation from chloro- 
form narcosis as anything possibly can. If the recovery 
had been complete and perfect with the first effort at 
reversing the body, there might have been a doubt 
whether the vertical position was really the cause of re- 
suscitation ; but when the horizontal position was again 
and again followed by the cessation of all signs of life, 
and when life was again and again re established by a pro- 
cess that favored the gravitation of the blood, poisoned 
as it was with chloroform, to the brain, the inference is 
very clear that death in such cases is due to syncope or 
cerebral anaemia. 

Some years ago there was a story current in Paris 
that Dr. Nelaton had derived the hint of reversing the 
body in chloroform poisoning from a discovery accident- 
ally made by his little boy, then some seven or eight 
years old— that his little son had killed some mice with 
chloroform, and without thought or reason he had taken 
up a dead mouse by the tail and was twirling it around, 
when to his surprise, it begun to manifest signs of life, 
and soon recovered entirely, while the mice left lying 


were dead ; and that the great surgeon was thus taught an 
important lesson by his little boy. This is a very pretty 
story, and it seems a pity to spoil it, but lately when in 
Paris I called to see young Nelaton, who is now a doctor 
of medicine, and I asked him for the facts of the mouse 
story. He said that when they lived on the Quai Vol- 
taire the house was infested with mice ; that great num- 
bers were caught in traps almost daily ; that he was in 
the habit of killing them with chloroform, by covering 
the trap with a napkin and pouring the chloroform on 
it, and that his only idea was that of its being an easy 
death for the mice. One day, when he had given a 
happy dispatch to some mice, his father happened to 
come into the room, and seeing the dead mice he told 
his son that, if he would take up one by the tail and 
hold it with the head downward, it would revive, while 
the others that were permitted to keep the recumbent 
position would not. lie did this and found it was true ; 
and he told me that he had when a boy performed this 
experiment on mice some forty or fifty times or more, 
and always with the same unvarying result. He says 
that he has often heard his father speak not only of the 
case that occurred at St. Germain, but of other cases that 
he had saved before the time of the mouse story, which 
dates back to 1857. 

In America accoucheurs use chloroform and surgeons 
mostly ether. I believe there has not as yet been a 
single death from chloroform administered during labor, 
while deaths from it in general surgery occur constantly, 


and for unimportant operations. There must be a reason 
for this. I believe it can be explained only on the theory 
that death from chloroform is due to syncope or cerebral 
anaemia. Now, we know that in active labor there can 
be no cerebral anaemia, for every pain throws the blood 
violently to the brain, producing fullness and congestion 
of the blood-vessels, thereby counteracting the tendency 
of the chloroform to produce a contrary condition. It 
may be said that the recumbent position has some in- 
fluence in determining the safety of chloroform in labor ; 
and so it has. 

Chloroform given intermittingly is thought to be less 
dangerous, but patients in labor are often kept for hours 
under its influence with impunity, and occasionally it is 
necessary to produce complete and profound narcosis in 
some obstetrical operations ; and yet I believe I can 
safely repeat what I have already said, that no woman 
has yet died in labor from the effects of this anaesthetic. 
In puerperal convulsions, where the brain is believed to 
be overcharged with blood, and that, too, when the blood 
is known to be poisoned by urea, we formerly bled the 
patient, and we do so now, but one of our chief remedies 
is chloroform, which acts by resisting spasmodic move- 
ments and by producing that very state of cerebral anae- 
mia so necessary to a successful result. Whether puer- 
peral convulsions are less frequent in labors under chloro- 
form than in those without it, I do not know. I believe 
that obstetricians may take lessons from Nelaton's method 
of resuscitation. 


We should not be satisfied with simply placing the 
head low, but, in addition to the means usually adopted, 
we should invert the body and throw what little blood 
there is left in it wholly to the brain. Whether death 
from chloroform is due to cerebral anaemia or not, it is 
safe to adopt Nekton's method in all cases of supposed 
or threatened danger ; and I think the safest plan is to 
relinquish the use of chloroform altogether except in 
obstetrics. The frequent cases of death from the use 
of chloroform in surgical operations that have occurred 
among us, even of late, should warn us to give up this 
dangerous agency, if we can find another that is as effi- 
cient and at the same time free from danger. Ether 
fulfills this requisite to a remarkable degree ; but, while 
it is safe, it is offensive to the physician and bystanders, 
as well as to the patient. Chloroform is delicious and 
dangerous ; ether is disagreeable and safe in purely sur- 
gical cases. Since the publication of Dr. Nekton's 
method of resuscitation from chloroform narcosis, many 
valuable lives have been saved by it in different parts 
of my own country and elsewhere in the world. 


I sail from Xew York and return to Paris — Become physician to the 
Duchess of Hamilton — Death of the Duke of Hamilton — The emperor 
and empress — Anecdotes of Trousseau. 

Soox after Dr. Xenon's case was cured I returned 
to America, sailing from Qneenstown on the Inman 
steamer Kangaroo, on the 25th of December, 1561, and 
arriving in X*ew York on the 11th of January, IS 2, 
after a stormy passage of seventeen days. When I left 
home in July previously, we were marshaling forces 
Xorth and South for battle. On my arrival in Europe 
we heard of the battle of Bull Ron. On my return, in 
the following January. I ^vas obliged to provide myself 
with a passport to come into my own country. When 
I got home I found that we were in the very midst 
of a great civil war, and I was so unhappy by the state 
of affairs then existing that I made up my mind to 
take my family abroad, and we sailed from Xew York 
on the Great Eastern on July 15th. 1562. 

My programme was to establish my family in Paris, 
and I thought I would remain there ~ix months in the 
year, in the summer time, and then return home for six 
months to practice my profession to make money to snp- 


port them. I was so sure of coming back again to 
America in the autumn that I had paid for a return 
ticket in advance on the Great Eastern ; but, as soon as 
I got to Paris, I found that the work I had done there 
the summer before in the hospitals and for Dr. Nekton, 
had given me so much reputation, that I had no trouble 
at all in getting business enough to support my family, 
without the necessity of returning to New York for that 
purpose. Sir Joseph Olliffe was my great friend, and 
through him I was called in consultation to some of the 
highest personages in the land. Thus I was detained 
abroad quite unexpectedly ; but viewing the political con- 
dition of the country and the disturbed state of affairs, I 
easily resigned myself to the force of circumstances and 
remained abroad, thinking every year that I would 

Through Sir Joseph Olliffe, I became physician to the 
Duchess of Hamilton, who was then very ill, and in 1863 
I went with her to Baden-Baden to spend the summer. 
She gave me a beautiful chateau to live in, ready fur- 
nished, one which had never before been occupied by 
any but royalty ; and here I took up my abode for the 

When I went abroad I thought I would occupy my 
leisure moments in writing my work on the Accidents of 
Parturition, and, as I knew I was to spend the summer 
at Baden-Baden, I took all my material, manuscript and 
drawings, for the purpose of writing the proposed book. 
About the middle of June, 1863, I began it. I had piles 


of manuscript and piles of illustrations, and commenced 
classifying and arranging the material, working very hard 
for two days. The weather was excessively hot and 
exhausting, and at last I said to myself, " This work is too 
heavy ; I am not equal to the task during such extremely 
hot weather. I will lay it aside until the autumn, and 
then I will set to work in earnest to write my great 
work," which I hoped and expected would send my name 
down to posterity. And then, said I, " Between now and 
October I will occupy my time in writing a pamphlet on 
the subject of sterility. I don't know a great deal about 
it, but I know more than anybody else, and I am sure 
that a pamphlet on this subject will be welcomed by the 
profession everywhere." With this intention I dismissed 
the heavy work and commenced the lighter one of writ- 
ing a pamphlet. I went on with the subject, and instead 
of its ending in a pamphlet form it became a book on all 
the diseases of women, leaving out the subjects of ovari- 
otomy and the accidents of parturition, but embracing 
everything else in the department of gynaecology. This 
book was entitled " Clinical Notes on Uterine Surgery." 
It was so radical and revolutionary in all the methods 
adopted, and so startling in the results claimed in the 
treatment of many affections, that the profession did not 
at first readily accept its teachings, but in a few years it 
completely revolutionized the subject of gynaecology, 
and even now it is received everywhere as authority. 
Before that time there was not a professorship of gynae- 
cology, worthy of the name, connected with any of our 


medical schools, and now we have professorships of this 
department in every medical school in the country, and, 
indeed, throughout the civilized world. 

I have always said this book was a mere accident ; 
that I never intended to write it. The book that I went 
to Baden-Baden to write has not yet been written. 

While at Baden-Baden, the Duke of Hamilton went 
with his friend Lord Howard one night to the opera. 
After the opera they went to the Maison Doree, as is the 
custom in Paris, for a supper. Between one and two 
o'clock they left the Maison Doree to return to their 
hotel, and the duke, as he started down the stairs, tripped 
and fell a distance of twenty feet, head foremost, turning 
in his fall so as to strike the back of his head on the floor 
at the bottom of the stairs. He was taken up insensible, 
and carried to the Hotel Bristol, and immediately a 
telegram was sent to the duchess at Baden-Baden. Al- 
though she was very ill, she at once undertook the trip 
back to Paris, and I accompanied her with the family. 
On arriving in Paris, the duke was still unconscious and 
remained in that condition for several days, when he 
died, without having recognized any member of his 
family. The Duke of Hamilton was a handsome man of 
the Byronic order. He was a handsome likeness of Lord 
Byron, and his whole life was Byronic, but unpoetical. 

It was at the Hotel' Bristol that I was presented to the 
Empress Eugenie. She came every day to see the duke, 
and I was surprised and delighted to see her efficiency as 
a nurse, to see her gentleness and kindness, and skill, and 


management, in giving directions for the comfort of the 
poor insensible duke. When the duke died, the em- 
peror sent his remains to Scotland in a ship of war. The 
empress invited the duchess and the Lady Mary Hamil- 
ton to go to St. Cloud, where she was spending the 
summer. This was about the 6th of July, 1863. On the 
5th of April, 1863, the emperor, having heard of my 
work in Paris, sent for me to consult me about the 
empress's health. I arrived at the appointed time and 
found his majesty waiting. I sat and talked with him 
about half an hour, about the political affairs of my own 
country as well as about the empress's health. He spoke 
in the tenderest and most affectionate terms of the 
memory of his mother ; told me how she had suffered in 
the last days of her life ; of the manner of her death, and 
how anxious he was about the empress's health ; and he 
said that her majesty would send for me in a day or two 
for a consultation. I supposed when I went to see him 
that I would feel a little embarrassed, but his manner 
was so gentle and kind that I really forgot that I was 
talking to the emperor, and after I left I was mortified 
at remembering that I had never once said " Sire," in 
addressing him. He spoke remarkably good English, 
with a slight German accent. 

The day after my visit to the emperor, the empress 
was taken with diphtheria, and I was disappointed in not 
seeing her at the time that I expected. She was confined 
to the house for about a month, and was not able to go 
out a great deal until she went to St. Cloud, about the 


1st of June. The day after the duchess went to St. 
Cloud I was sent for, aud installed in the palace, to be 
near her, and render her any professional services she 
might need, and she needed a deal of care. While there 
I saw a great deal of the empress. I was the guest of 
the Duke de Bassano, who was the lord chamberlain of 
the empress. The Duke de Bassano spoke very good 
English, and so did all the members of his family. There 
was no formality at St. Cloud. The emperor was at 
Yichy. The first day of my arrival, when I was sent for 
to come to dinner, I was told it was not necessary to 
appear in a dress -coat. At the Duke de Bassano' s table 
there were about fifteen persons present, ladies-in-waiting 
at the court, and gentlemen-in-waiting. I did not speak 
a word of French at that time. 

I remained at St. Cloud a fortnight. During that 
time I had the professional supervision of the em- 
press's health; saw her every day and every evening. 
Just before breakfast, and dinner, the guests of the 
Duke de Bassano, the ladies- and gentlemen-in-wait- 
ing, would arrange themselves in a drawing-room ad- 
joining the dining-room of the duke, and the empress 
would come in and have a pleasant word to say to 
every one, a bow and a smile for each, and pass along 
to her own dining-room, which was in a different part 
of the pavilion, where she dined with the Duchess of 
Hamilton, her daughter Lady Mary, and the prince 
imperial. The prince imperial was then about seven 
years old. After the empress had passed on to her 


own dining-room, then the party of the Duke de 
Bassano followed, and filed off to one side into his 
dining-room. Almost every afternoon we would get 
in carriages and drive in one direction or another. 
Occasionally we would sit under the shadows of the 
trees, or in the porticoes of the palace, and engage in 
lively conversation. 

I remember one evening, when the sun was about 
an hour high, the carriages were driven up, the em- 
press, and the Duchess of Hamilton and her daughter, 
and a lady-in-waiting, were in one carriage, and the 
other ladies and gentlemen were in three or four 
others. I had been invited to take a seat with two 
ladies and a gentleman in an open phaeton, and, just 
as I got into the phaeton, the empress, whose carriage 
was twenty steps distant, cried out, u O doctor, we 
are going to take a long drive this evening : we are 
going to Versailles, and we shall not get back before 
nine o'clock. It may be cool in the evening, although 
it is hot now, and you had better run up-stairs and 
get your overcoat." I mention this to show how 
thoughtful and considerate she was of the comfort of 
everybody around her. She was beloved — idolized, as 
it were — by all her household, and all the court circle, 
and by everybody that came in contact with her. I 
knew the nurse very well that was with her when the 
prince imperial was born. The empress was very ill, 
and she was bed-ridden for a long time, and I have 
heard the nurse say that she had never heard her say 


a cross or disagreeable word, or complain of anything, 
during the whole of this long illness. I have sat at 
the table night after night, for two and three hours 
at a time, and heard the empress and the Duchess of 
Hamilton talk upon every imaginable subject. I was 
amazed at the profundity and the universality of her 
knowledge. We talked of science, of politics, of re- 
ligion, of philosophy, of art : no subject escaped her, 
and I was very much surprised to see how much 
she knew of individuals, of persons that she never 
had seen, and even of the scandals of the day. The 
Duchess of Hamilton remained here about three weeks, 
and then returned to Baden, and I went with her, and 
remained there until the month of October, when I re- 
turned to Paris, and took up my abode in the Rue de 
Surene, where I resided in 1864, and part of 1865. 

I had been now in Paris two years and was making a 
very comfortable living. So far as that was concerned I 
was perfectly satisfied. I was one of those benighted 
southerners who thought that the war between the States 
would necessarily result in a dissolution of the Union. 
After Mr. Lincoln was re-elected president, I said to my- 
self, that prolongs the war for another four years. I 
made up my mind not to return to New York until the 
war should be ended ; but if it should last through 
another administration I could not afford to remain in 
Paris and educate my children under such circumstances 
as to unfit them for the duties of life at home ; and as I 


felt confident that the war would be prolonged for an- 
other four years I determined to remove to London. I 
went to London and took the advice of some of my 
Meade there, and among them Air. Ernest Hart, who 
said that he thought there was a field for me ; that my 
name was well known to the profession throughout the 
country, and that, if I would contribute to the medical 
journals some original articles on my peculiar methods 
of operating, etc., he thought it would attract sufficient 

France has produced many great surgeons, but I 
presume that Trousseau was the most distinguished phy- 
:an she has ever had. Some years ago. at one of the 
an nivers aides of the "Woman's Hospital, the Rev. Dr. 
Adams made an Irese to the board of lady managers, 
and. mentioning the handsome things said of the hospi- 
tal and its management, he alluded to my labor, saying. 
" AVhen I go through these halls, and see the nurmV 
of sick women who have been restored to health by 
the marvelous skill of your surgeon, after long years 
of suffering and sorrow. I feel sure that he ought to be 
the happiest man in the world.*' I saw Dr. Adams a 
few days after this and thanked him for his kind words, 
and said : a Your conclusion that I was one of the hap- 
piest men in the world was correct, but your premises 
were not. I am one of the happiest men in the world, 
but it is not because I cure these poor people who 
would never have been cured but for my labors and my 


discoveries and inventions. It is because I am happy at 
home." And I illustrated this by telling him of the 
great Trousseau, one of the greatest physicians of the 
age, a man endowed with physical beauty as well as fine 
intellect, the philosophic physician, the classical littera- 
teur, the elegant teacher, the successful practitioner. He 
was without a rival. I had never known such a grand 
man who was purely a physician ; and yet he was a very 
miserable man, and why? Had he not reached the 
highest distinction in his profession ? Had 'he not the 
largest following of students at the Hotel Dieu ? Was 
he not exhibited as the highest authority in medicine 
all over the world? His lectures were translated into 
all languages; he was read and esteemed as much in 
England and America as in France and elsewhere on 
the Continent; and then he was the leading practi- 
tioner, the great consultant, the fashionable doctor in 
Paris, and had accumulated a large fortune. Everybody 
spoke well of him ; everybody admired him as a man ; 
his private character was above all reproach; he had 
no children whom he could not recognize as his own, 
as unfortunately too often is seen in Paris among the 
highest classes. As the world saw the man, they had 
the right to think and to say that he ought to be one 
of the happiest of men. True, he was not court physi- 
cian. Smaller men, men far inferior to him in every 
point of view, occupied this high position, but every 
other ambition of his life had been fully gratified ; and 
yet he was unhappy, and why? His wife was an ele- 


gant and accomplished woman, of great beauty and fine 
intellect, but they were separated. He had a daughter, 
one of the most beautiful women in Paris, who mar- 
ried a man too much her senior. They were incompat- 
ible and separated. He had an only son, who was a 
spape-grace. He was a gambler and everything else 
that was bad. His father was worried to death with 
his dissoluteness and foolish extravagance, and had to 
pay enormous sums of money to extricate him from his 
disgraceful orgies and gambling complications. He was 
married to a fine woman, who ought to have made any 
man happy, but he neglected and made her miserable. 
How, then, could the great, the good Trousseau have 
been happy with such unhappy family surroundings? 
No ! rest assured if there is any real happiness in this 
world it must be in the home, in the family circle, and 
not alone in public applause. 

In October, 1863, I was in attendance on Mrs. ^ , 
daughter of Mr. W. "W*. Corcoran, the banker-philan- 
thropist of Washington. She had a long, serious illness, 
and I called Trousseau and my friend Sir Joseph Olliffe 
in consultation. Trousseau, unlike most French doctors, 
was always punctual to the minute. Sir Joseph and 
myself, who were united in our admiration of the man, 
always asked him to appoint an hour of the next day 
to suit his convenience. On one occasion he said, " Well, 
gentlemen, I shall have the pleasure of meeting you to- 
morrow at thirteen minutes after four." We accepted 
the hour, but I thought to myself a Yankee or New 


York man would have said ten or fifteen minutes after 
four and not thirteen. The next day I observed closely, 
and sure enough Trousseau was exactly on time. I 
afterward took the liberty of asking him why he ap- 
pointed the consultation at thirteen instead of fifteen 
minutes after four. He took it in good part and said, 
" Well, I knew I would leave my office at such an 
hour for such a place ; that I would surely get through 
my consultation there at four, and that it, would take 
my coachman less than fifteen minutes and more than 
ten minutes to drive here. Indeed, I knew it would 
take just thirteen minutes, as I had several times timed 
him, and so I made the appointment accordingly and 
not from any affected eccentricity. Time is too pre- 
cious to be wasted, and two minutes here and there, 
when added together, are often of much value in our 
work." With all Trousseau's grand qualities of head 
and heart he had also his little weaknesses. 

In September, 1861, I met the Stewart family, of 
Mobile, in Paris. There were many Southern refugees 
there during our great civil war. Mrs. Stewart had a 
severe attack of bronchitis and asked me to prescribe 
for her. She was at the Hotel Yendome. I said, " It 
is better to send for some physician who is familiar 
with the endemic condition of the climate. Send for 
the best; send for Trousseau." "But," said Mrs. Stew- 
art, " I would like to do so but he is such a great man, 
and so busy, I fear he would not respond to a stranger 
at a hotel." I said, " I will go for him myself, and I 


am sure lie will come and see you." So I went. He 
then lived in the Eue Basse-du-Eempart. His consult- 
in or rooms were crowded bj fashionable, well-dressed 
people. I sent in my card and he saw me at once. T 
told him my message, and he went to see Mrs. Stewart 
at the hour appointed. He examined her closely, aus- 
cultated her lungs, and said she was not seriously ill, 
that she was undergoing a climatizing process, which 
would run its course in a few days, that it could not 
be cut short, but would terminate at such and such a 
period. In the mean time he would look in on her in 
two or three days, to see what progress she was mak- 
ing, and guard her against any accidental complications, 
which possibly might arise, but which he did not an- 
ticipate ; and he ended by writing an order for asses' 
milk, "which is to be sent to 12 Rue de Surene; and 
he said that the asses would be driven to the door 
of the hotel to-morrow morning at seven o'clock, and 
that she must drink a pint of the milk warm at break- 
fast. TTith this he rose to leave, and Mrs. Stewart bade 
him good-by, with thanks for his kindly courtesy, and 
laid the fee in his hand. At this moment Mrs. Stew- 
art's youngest daughter, about eight or nine years old, 
a charming little spoiled child, who was very anxious 
about her sick mother, ran up to the doctor and caught 
him by the hand, and said, "Doctor, ain't you going 
to give my mamma any medicine; nothing but asses' 
milk ? " " No, no, my child ; nothing else ; your mother 
needs no medicine." " Why, I never saw such a doctor, 


a doctor like you. I thought you were such a great 
doctor you would give my mother some medicine and 
cure her quick. I never heard of a doctor just giving 
asses' milk and nothing but asses' milk. That ain't 
going to cure her." The great man's pride was doubly 
wounded by this persistent little child, who dared to 
assault his dignity and to question his skill; and he 
pushed her away gently and walked off, evidently much 
hurt by this little American enfant terrible. Trous- 
seau did not return to see Mrs. Stewart. She sent for 
him two or three days afterward, but he didn't respond 
to the call. He doubtless justified his conscience from 
the knowledge that she was suffering from a malady 
that would run its course without endangering her life. 
In the autumn of 1866 it was known that Trousseau's 
health was failing. On ^New-Year's day, 1867, his friend, 
Sir Joseph Olliffe, went to see him, and found him very 
much changed. He said, " Sir Joseph, I have carcinoma 
of the pylorus, and of course my days are numbered. I 
can now take nothing but milk. It is now a war between 
waste and supply, and I have been making a calculation 
of the probable time of the end, and I think I shall last 
until about the 20th of June." He died within a week 
or ten days of this date. He was a philosopher and died 
like one, but how embittered must have been his last 
days. He had not seen his son for a long time before 
he died. About a fortnight or three weeks before this 
event his son went to one of the gambling hells of Paris 
and lost all his money, and more than he could pay be- 


sides. He became desperate, rushed madly from the 
scene of disaster determined to end his miserable exist- 
ence ; but, on second thought, he concluded, when he got 
into the cool way of the Place de la Concorde, to write 
parting liues to his wife and mother. On reaching his 
apartment he accordingly wrote to each that he had been 
unworthy of them, and that he would be no more by the 
time they received his notes. They naturally supposed 
that he had committed suicide. His poor father died 
soon after this, and his unworthy son saw a notice of his 
death in a London paper the next day ; and I saw the 
tall, handsome, wretched man bending heart-broken over 
his great father's coffin in the Madeleine, whence he fol- 
lowed it to its final resting-place in the Pere Lachaise. 
We are happy or unhappy in this life, as our children 
choose to make us. The joys, amenities, and pleasures 
of home, with health, make life worth living. But these 
must abound and be enjoyed by all who come in contact 
with us. We must not only be happy in our own homes, 
but must do all the good we can outside of these and try 
to make others happy too. 


Letters from Dublin and Paris to my wife — Social Science Congress — Made 
knight of the Order of Leopold the First — Military review in Dublin — 
Ignorance of French surgeons — Operations in Paris and London — The 
political situation in America. 

Dublin, August 18, 1861. 

Here I am again in my beloved Dublin. The Social 

Science Congress is in session, under the presidency of 

Mr. Brigham, and yesterday afternoon all its members 

were invited out to Phoenix Park and entertained at the 

Zoological Gardens. About five o'clock p. m. Pratt and 

I were sauntering along one of the graded walks of the 

beautiful garden, when who should meet us but my 

old friend Sir "William Wilde, the great oculist of that 

day and time. He was not expecting to see me. He 

stopped suddenly, letting drop the lady's arm that was 

leaning on his, and raising both hands aloft he exclaimed, 

" Why, my dear fellow, is that you, you great unshaved 

humbug ! " (I had not shaved, true enough, that day.) 

" Where did you come from ? Well, well, come and dine 

with us this evening." " At what hour ? " said I. " At 

six o'clock, sharp six." Looking at my watch and seeing 

it was only forty-five minutes from that moment, I said, 

"My dear sir, that would be impossible. I would be 


most happy to do so, but I have not time to go to the 
hotel and fix up and put on a dress-coat." " But," said 
he, " who the devil cares about the coat % It is you that I 
want, and as for your coat you may pull it off and hang 
it on the back of the chair ; and you may turn your 
breeches wrong side out if you will, but I must insist on 
your wearing them." So he invited Dr. Pratt to go with 
us, and we arrived there a few minutes after the appoint- 
ed time. After dinner we all went to the reception given 
by the president of the Royal Irish Academy to the So- 
cial Science Congress in the halls of the Irish Academy. 
There was a perfect jam. Everybody was there. Lady 
Wilde turned over a young widow to me and a young 
lady to Dr. Pratt. The widow and myself got along fa- 
mously, but Tom and his partner were not very sympa- 
thetic. She was a strong-minded woman, who was devis- 
ing ways and means of elevating her sex, opening up new 
channels of occupation for young unmarried women ; a 
radical in politics, pitching into slavery particularly, and 
wishing to reform the world generally. And poor Dr. 
Pratt had to stick to her the whole evening. She pa- 
raded him up and down, and when he, too, had on a pair 
of boots that pinched his toes unmercifully. He tried to 
seat her, but she would not be seated. They were gen- 
erally close to the widow and myself, and the young lady 
and myself occasionally had a cut and thrust. On one 
occasion she was wondering at my youthful appearance. 
I insisted that I was but thirty. She said, " You must 
have been married very young." " Oh no, not very ; I 


was twenty-four," said I. " How old was your wife ? " 
" She was nearly twenty-one years, quite old enough to 
get married. " But," she said, " young ladies very often 
marry much younger in America." I said, " Yes, often 
as young as seventeen or eighteen." " Still," she replied, 
" they grow after marriage." I said in the most innocent 
way imaginable, " You would be surprised to see how 
some of them grow in the course of one short year." 
Just at this moment Sir William came rushing up and 
hurried me off to the lord-lieutenant, as everybody calls 
him. He is a courtly-looking gentleman, about fifty-five 
or six. On being introduced, I found myself trying to 
bow as much in the stiff Northern style as I possibly 
could, but the princely old fellow took the starch out of 
me at once, for he held out his hand and shook mine in 
the most cordial Southern way. . . . 

On Monday we went to the Social Science Congress 
meeting, and saw and heard Lord Brougham and others, 
and at night we went to a reception given by the lord- 
lieutenant in Dublin Castle. It was a grand affair. 
The enormous suites of apartments, corridors, etc, were 
filled with well-dressed gentry, with now and then a 
sprinkling of nobility, but the latter could not be distin- 
guished from the former unless pointed out by some one 
who knew. The lord-mayor was there, wearing his in- 
signia of office, a massive gold chain as large as the little 
finger, around the neck. It is external to the coat and is 
passed around three times and looks at a little distance 
nearly as wide as the hand. The Earl of Carlisle, the 


lord-lieutenant, who gave the entertainment, had hang- 
ing from his neck some sort of ornament two or three 
inches in diameter which was a mass of diamonds. I 
didn't notice it until the lady who accompanied me called 
my attention to it after he passed. On being introduced 
to him, he said, " O, I remember you very well, Dr. 
Sims, having seen you on Saturday evening at the 
Academy." He is the man for the place. He has a kind 
Word for everybody and makes everybody feel easy. As 
he moved off, being pushed on by the crowd that was 
pressing behind, he called out, " You are going in the 
right direction if you wish to see the Yankees." I did 
not understand his meaning, but it was explained when I 
met some familiar looking, close fitting caps and straight 
jackets. After we had passed a little distance the widow 
said, " You must be, I am sure, a very distinguished man, 
if I may judge from the lord-lieutenant's kind recep- 
tion of you." I told her, " He remembers me by the 
brief conversation last Saturday night on the subject of 
the distracted state of my country." I tell you all these 
little things because I know you are more interested in 
my personal adventures and experiences than in any en- 
cyclopedian account of cities, rivers, mountains, statues, 
etc. Lords and ladies look at home much the same as 
any of us. The Earl of Carlisle is very prepossessing in 
appearance and manner. The lower part of his face is 
not handsome ; the upper is. He is graceful and affable, 
and is said to be very large-hearted. Lord Brougham is 
one of the most remarkable men now living in the king- 


dom. He is eighty-two years old, and is the perfect 
counterpart of old Father Bears and the Kev. Mr. Bangs, 
of the Methodist Church. Lord Talbot de Mahilide 
looks like a good Southern planter. 

To go back to the widow and the party. We had a 
very pleasant evening. She pointed out to me the digni- 
taries and magnates, and occasionally showed me some 
good-looking fellow that she had jilted because she could 
not help it. She married an old man for his money, 
who died in good time and left her eight hundred a year. 
Eight hundred a year is no mean sum here. One of my 
doctor friends tapped me on the shoulder, as we were 
walking along, and whispered, " You have got a widow 
with eight hundred a year." She had married for money, 
and now she was about to be paid off by so many willing 
to marry her for money. Lady Wilde told me she had 
refused forty-six young men last year, some of them ten 
years her junior. I know you are tired of the widow, 
but I must tell you one more incident : As we went 
home in a cab at midnight she took regular hysterics on 
account of the cabman driving so fast. She cried out, 
" Stop the cabman ; he is driving too fast ! " She was 
sitting on a back seat, and the young lady and myself 
were in front. I tried to quiet her. She didn't swoon, 
for I was not sitting by her and of course there was no 
chance for her to fall into my arms. The more I tried 
to pacify her the less pacified she got. There was no 
reason, no sense in her carrying on. I got tired of it and 
laughed at her fears most heartily. She said these 


drunken cabmen often turn over their cabs and break the 
people's necks. And she said Mr. So-and-so had his leg 
broken and suffered terribly. " Oh," said I, " what a 
lucky fellow. Just to think what a happy man to get 
his leg broken, so that he could lie up at home away from 
the troubles of business, and have his wife to pet him." 
" But," said she " I have got nobody to pet me if my leg 
is broken." " But," said I, " I will pet you if you get 
your leg broken. I will rub it and stroke it, and splint 
it and bandage it, and cure it up so nicely for you that 
you will almost be willing to have the other leg broken." 
This killed all her hysterics, and brought her to her 
senses. She laughed outright, and said I was the oddest 
fellow she ever met. I made this discovery : That the 
way to cure hysterics in a widow with eight hundred a 
year is to talk about rubbing her leg. Whether rubbing 
it will cure it or not, I really do not know. 

You can't imagine how many people are talking to 
me about settling in London. I have not the remotest 
idea of ever leaving New York, but would you believe it, 
that more than two prominent doctors have insisted on 
my going to London. The great Syme, of Edinburgh, 
told me that if I would go to London to live he would 
insure me more than I could make in New York, with 
less labor. And a few nights ago I was introduced to a 
physician here, who told me that London was the place 
for me ; that they need such a man there as I am. Com- 
pliments certainly ! And yesterday Sir William Wilde 
said that if I would go to London and settle down that I 


would make a fortune. But don't fear. I have not the 
remotest idea of it. New York has done well by me and 
I will stick to her just as long as she will let me. The 
queen arrived here this morning. I have missed seeing 
her, and will go to the Curragh, an hour's ride by mail, to 
see her review the troops to-morrow. Failing to lay eyes 
on the blessed woman to-day, I thought it would be very 
unloyal not to sacrifice one day to testify my admiration 
for this purest of women and best of queens. 

I have already said that I was treated very kindly 
by Derolebaix, surgeon to the King of Belgium, and the 
other members of the profession whom I met in Brussels 
when I went over to wait for the vesico-vaginal fistula 
in their hospitals. And I have mentioned the fact that 
they have elected me corresponding Fellow of the Royal 
Academy of Medicine, and they recommended my name 
to the government for Knight of the Order of Leo- 
pold the First. I then never had any public recogni- 
tions abroad, and not many at home, and of course I 
was exceedingly anxious to obtain this from the Bel- 
gian government. Of course this must go through a 
certain form before the end can be reached. After I 
had been at home about a month, say about the 1st of 
February, 1862, I received notice from Brussels that 
the government had created me a Knight of the Or- 
der of Leopold the First. Whenever any European 
government confers such an honor on a foreigner it 
must, as a matter of course, be through the minister 
representing his government. At that time Mr. San- 


ford was the American minister at the Court of Brus- 
sels, and he objected to my receiving this honor, and 
gave as a reason that I was a rebel and an enemy of 
my country, and therefore was not entitled to any honor 
of the sort, even when conferred for scientific claims. 
I was exceedingly mortified when I heard this news, 
and immediately determined if possible to circumvent 
Mr. Sanford. Mr. Henry J. Raymond, of the " Times, " 
had always been my friend, from my first experience 
in New York. He had been a friend of the Woman's 
Hospital movement ; he was one of its advocates and 
advisers; Mrs. Raymond was one of the first lady-mana- 
gers and had always taken a deep interest in it and in 
me. Mr. Raymond was then all-powerful with the au- 
thorities at Washington. I thought that I would have 
nothing to do but to speak to him, and that he would 
write to Mr. Seward, and that through his agency I 
would receive the honor that I so much coveted. My 
political sentiments were never hidden from anybody, 
but I was not a politician, and could not help my sen- 
timents. I had a conversation with Dr. Horace Green, 
who was a warm personal friend of Mr. Raymond's. Dr. 
Green, at a family dinner party, invited Mr. Raymond 
and myself there, with the view of giving me an op- 
portunity of speaking to Mr. Raymond, after dinner, on 
the subject which was so near my heart. After I had 
laid the whole story before Mr. Raymond, telling all 
that he knew, that I was a southern sympathizer, but 
yet, as a man of science and as a citizen of New York, 


as loyal to the Government as he himself was, I wished 
him to bring his influence to bear on the Secretary of 
State, Mr. Seward, so that I could obtain the honor I 
wanted. I don't think I was ever so surprised in all 
my life as when, after hearing my story and request, 
he turned sharply on me and said : " I don't think any 
man holding the sentiments that you do has any right 
to expect any favors of any sort from the Government 
under existing circumstances." I detail this to show 
what bitterness and unreasonableness existed in the 
minds of the great leaders of that day and time. I 
never obtained the honorable order from the Belgian 
government until the summer of 1880, when my daugh- 
ter, Mrs. W. Graham Sandford, the wife of Mr. Sand- 
ford, who was then Secretary of Legation of the Brit- 
ish Embassy at Brussels, laid the facts before the min- 
ister of state that I have already detailed, and the Gov- 
ernment then granted me the honor, which was ac- 
cepted by Mr. James O. Putnam, then representing the 
American Government at the Court of Belgium. 

Dublin, August 25, 1861. 

The queen arrived here yesterday, on her way to visit 
the troops at the Curragh. I thought it would be too 
bad to leave without laying eyes on the little woman. I 
did not happen to see her driving around town, and my 
disappointment determined me at once to remain here 
and go to the review at the Curragh. Yesterday, the 
24th, was the grand review of the troops there, some 


twenty-five or thirty miles from Dublin, on the road 
toward Cork. The Curragh is a great camp for training 
soldiers. The barracks make quite a town of one-story 
houses on either side of the central street, a mile and a 
half long. The occasion was a grand one: everybody 
was there. It is said that there are from eighteen to 
twenty thousand troops, and there was an immense 
throng of spectators. The day, for Ireland, was a fine 
one — for us it would have been called bad. It rained 
very hard twice during the parade, which lasted from ten 
to three. People here don't mind getting wet. I 
learned to stand and take it like an Irishman. I never 
wanted a horse as badly in my life. If I had been 
mounted, I could have charged over and around the 
Curragh in any direction with the others. I can imagine 
very well that in battle men mav forget themselves in 

ml m/ _ 

leading a charge, for we had all the excitement of battle 
without the carnage. We saw the commanding general 
on an eminence in the distance, glass in hand, surveying 
the field. He was surrounded by hie staff. Presently 

aid was flying on his charger, as swift as the wind, gave 
an order, and instantly thousands of soldiers were in mo- 
tion, changing the whole scene, and in a very short space 
of time another and another aid would be sent in another 
direction, which soon wheeled the serried columns of 
infantry, changing the position of flying artillery, or mov- 
ing light dragoons, so rapidly that the whole column, 
more than a mile long, was soon placed at right angle ; * a 
its former position. We had the booming of cannon, the 

A REVIEW. 353 

rattling volleys of infantry, the terrific charge of thou- 
sands of dragoons. The noise of these was like thunder, 
and seemed to me would be dreadful in an open plain in 
attacking ranks of infantry. There were many ladies 
and gentlemen on horseback. They didn't care at all for 
the rain, though it poured in torrents for a little while. 
They seemed all excitement, and were charging in all 
directions, not fearing cannon, musketry, or anything 
else. . . . But to return to the Curragh. You ask, did I 
see the queen? "When we stopped first to survey the 
line of soldiers, we were on an eminence about the center 
of a great plain, which is continually undulated, and so 
uneven in some places as to hide the movements of the 
troops — all hill and dale. After nearly three hours of 
standing, talking, and gazing at the waves of soldiers, I 
said to a gentleman accompanying me, " I came here ex- 
pressly to see the queen. I have stopped three days for 
that purpose. I fear I shall be disappointed." " No, you 
won't," said he, "here they are coming." At that mo- 
ment the guard came dashing along, followed by the 
queen's carriage, drawn by four fine bays with riders. 
The carriage was open. It stopped within twenty or 
thirty steps of us, with the right side toward us. They 
had to look over our heads to see the charge of cavalry. 
The queen seemed to enjoy the scene like a true woman. 
Three of her children were with er, one on her left, and 
the other two, whom I could not see, were on the front 
seat. They were all dressed in deep mourning, and be- 
haved themselves quite as well as any well-bred ladies 


would with us. The queen is a fine looking woman, and 
were I an Englishman I could be vociferously eloquent 
with her as my theme. Taking her in all the relations 
of life, as wife, mother, Christian, and queen, no such 
woman ever graced the throne or so honored her sex; 
but, poor thing, she is queen and therefore not free to do 
as she chooses about anything. She who has, nominally, 
great power, is really powerless. Over her own actions 
she is cramped with royal formulas. The other day her 
servants petitioned her to go on a picnic, or rather she 
planned a picnic excursion for them, to Wicklow, a 
beautiful region of country not far from Dublin, and 
they petitioned her to allow them to ride in open Irish 
jaunting-cars, instead of closed carriages. She said, " Cer- 
tainly, ride in the open jaunting-cars. I should like the 
privilege of doing so myself, if the British people would 
not feel outraged by it." The queen was accompanied 
by the prince consort, on horseback. I have never seen 
a finer looking man. This was only four months before 
his death. 

Paris, September 16, 1861. 

This morning we went to the Hopital Lariboisiere, 
which is altogether the finest hospital I have ever seen. 
MVe had been following Chassaignac around the wards for 
some time, and just as he got through he turned sudden- 
ly around and came toward me. He discovered that I 
was a stranger, and, bowing and stopping a moment, his 
instrument maker, Mr. Mathieu, who happened to be 
present, introduced me. He grasped me warmly by the 


hand and commenced, "Ah! Monsieur Marion Sims," 
and he talked away at a terrible rate, in a very compli- 
mentary manner, not a word of which did I understand ; 
but the students and doctors all gazed at my confusion, 
as if I had been nicely dissected or was undergoing a 
brilliant ecrasement. He was exceedingly polite to me, 
and kept me by his side for the two hours that he was 
lecturing and operating in the amphitheatre. I learned 
something from him about the use of the ecraseur, and 
I confess that I was greatly profited by what'I saw. 

Paris, Friday, September 20, 1861. 

I am utterly amazed at the ignorance of French 
surgeons on some subjects. For instance, in hospital 
practice almost all cases of amputation die. I am 
very sure I see the true cause, and if I had time I 
would pitch in for a complete revolution in the art of 
dressing wounds here. Don't repeat this to anybody, 
for it looks too presumptuous ; but I am sure that the 
same surgery in !New York would be, other things 
being equal, attended with the same results as here. 
Everybody is kind and polite to me. I went to the 
Societe de Chirurgie the other evening with the great 
Chassaignac, the inventor of the ecraseur. He lionized 
me quite as much as I could comfortably bear. Fortu- 
nately for me it was all in French, and I did not wince. 
Huguier, the man I mentioned in my amputation paper, 
has been very polite to me, and I am to operate for 
vesico-vaginal fistula for him, at the Hopital Beaujon, 


to-morrow morning, at nine o'clock. To-day I am at 
the Hopital St. Louis, by invitation of Dr. Yerneuil, 
who invited me to operate there on a case next 
Monday at nine o'clock — both cases just bad enough 
and just good enough ; would not have them other- 
wise. How rejoiced I am every day that I obeyed 
your injunctions in coming abroad. I only wish I 
had more time here. The fields are rich, the harvest 
is ripe. I have prepared my amputation paper, and it 
is now in the hands of the translator. Chassaignac 
will read it on Wednesday next before the surgical 
society, and on Wednesday following he will read my 
paper on vaginismus. I am now at work on it ; but 
as I have only a few minutes more to get this off in 
time, I will drop professional subjects, though I know 
I can not interest you in any way half so much as to 
tell you the pleasant and profitable things that daily 
occur to me, whose very existence is wrapped up in 
your own. 

Paris, September 21f., 1861. 

On Saturday we operated at the Hopital Beaujon. 
It was difficult for anybody else, but easy for me, lasting 
thirty-five minutes. I was honored by the presence of 
Nelaton, Gosselin, Huguier, and Denonvilliers. The 
operation was satisfactory and successful ; and when Dr. 
Nelaton bade me good-by, and thanked me, he said he 
had been very much surprised to hear that I had cured 
more than two hundred cases, but after seeing this opera- 
tion he was not at all surprised. Dr. Ordronoux, of New 


York, and Dr. Johnstone, of Paris, interpreted for me. 
Yesterday I operated at the Hopital St. Louis, for Yer- 
neuil, before a very large class. Dr. Johnstone inter- 
preted ; and to-day I was waited upon by Dr. Pean, who 
came at the request of some of his students to solicit me 
to operate for them on the cadaver, for which they 
offered me one hundred francs apiece. Of course I de- 
clined the money, but accepted the honor, and I am to go 
to Mont Clair on Thursday to perform the operation. 

To-morrow my paper will be read before the Societe 
de Chirurgie, and next Wednesday the second paper will 
be read. 

Paris, October 2, 1861. 

My two surgical cases at the Beaujon and the St. 
Louis have been cured. All the young men are in 
ecstacies about them, while the older appear to be sat- 
isfied. I went to see the great Civiale, the great litho- 
triptist, and he gave me letters to Munich, Yienna, 
and Berlin, and invited me to operate for him in his 
wards. He said he had no case just now, but would soon 
have one for me. This morning I saw Yelpeau at the 
Charite for the first time. He said he had heard a 
great many surgeons speak of me and of my opera- 
tions, and that he would be glad to see me operate, 
and he would save the first case for me that presented 
itself at the Charite. Frenchmen don't ask strangers 
to visit them, or to dine or breakfast with them, as do 
the English and Americans ; but Dr. Campbell, who is 
Scotch by birth, invited me to meet Baker Brown, of 


London, and others at dinner two days ago. We had 
a glorious social English dinner, at which everybody 
spoke French but myself. Baker Brown said that he 
had felt quite hurt when he learned I had passed 
through London without calling to see him. He is a 
splendid fellow, but the greatest blower I ever met; 
belches out everything he knows, and thereby shows 
there are many things he does not know. He is a 
cute, cunning fellow, but everybody can see through 
him. In London he is not liked ; he is looked upon 
as unreliable, but I don't think they do him justice. 
So it is ! A man may have a few eccentricities, or foi- 
bles, or weaknesses, and he is like a poor woman with 
leucorrhcea — it weakens him all over. I also met another 
great surgeon of London yesterday, Sir Henry Thomp- 
son, who invited me to operate at the University Hospi- 
tal, where he and Erichsen are the surgeons. Of course 
I will not throw away such an opportuuity. Besides 
this, I have received messages from other surgeons in 
London to make them a visit. I called on Mr. Day- 
ton, our minister, the other day. He is a very elegant 
gentlemen. I asked him if he had any discretionary 
powers in issuing passports, or if he was obliged to 
exact the oath under any and all circumstances. He 
said he had no discretionary power whatever, and at 
my request showed me a copy of the oath. I had a 
very pleasant visit, explained to him that everything I 
had in the world in the shape of property was at the 
South, that the Confederate Congress had passed a se- 


questration act, and that I could not in justice to my 
wife and children take an oath that would result in 
the confiscation of all I had. He said it was surely 
a hard case, and regretted that his government did not 
allow its ministers some discretion under the circum- 
stances, and said he most certainly would help me if 
he could. I replied that I was an honest man, could 
not do anything that was not honorable, that I would 
not, as some had suggested, go by way of Canada and 
sneak stealthily home by some unfrequented route, nor 
would I take another man's passport and go into Bos- 
ton under a fictitious name, as some had suggested, but 
feeling sure of my honest purpose, being wholly incapa- 
ble of the slightest treasonable act, I had determined 
to go home like an honest man, fearing no harm ; for 
it is true that " the wicked flee when no man pursueth." 

Paris, October 18, 1861 {Friday). 

This 18th of October, 1861, has not by any means 
been the happiest day of my life, but, with perhaps 
three exceptions, the proudest. The first exception 
was the day, the 23d day of July, 1833, on which you 
gave me the rose-bud through the garden fence. We 
were then young and alone ; there were none to approve 
or condemn. A few seemingly long years rolled tar- 
dily over and at last brought the second era, the hap- 
py day, the 21st of December, 1836, on which you be- 
came my wife. Family and friends were there to yield 
assent. Many perfectly happy years passed rapidly, and, 


together we climbed up the hill of life until, almost at 
the top, came the first anniversary of the Woman's 
Hospital, the 9th of February, 1856. You were not 
there, but New York was, and from that day your 
husband's American reputation was fixed, and your hopes 
were fulfilled, and your ambition gratified. 

To-day Yelpeau, Nelaton, Civiale, Eicord, Chassai- 
gnac, Follin, Huguier, Debout, Baron Larrey, Sir Joseph 
Olliffe, Campbell, Johnstone, and many others honored 
me with their presence at the Hotel Yoltaire, Quai Yol- 
taire, No. 19. I had one of the most difficult operations I 
ever performed. The patient was a very bad one, short, 
fat, and nervous. Chloroform was administered by Dr. 
Johnstone. It acted very badly; the patient became 
slightly hysterical, and uncontrollable, and chloroform was 
for a while suspended. Some thought it dangerous to 
continue it; to stop it was to stop the operation. Yelpeau 
strongly advised against continuing to give it, but John- 
stone proceeded, and gave enough to produce quiet, and 
the operation was performed. It took about forty min- 
utes. It was one of the most difficult that could be. 
Everybody was delighted except me. I never had so 
many obstacles present at one time in any one case. I 
have had as bad patients, but then the operation was not 
so difficult ; and I have had a few as difficult, but they 
were in docile patients ; but here everything was wrong 
except my presence of mind and confidence. But all 
obstacles were so quietly and so thoroughly overcome 
that everybody congratulated me on encountering them. 


The triumph is complete, and you may feel secure as to 
the full and perfect recognition of my claims throughout 
all Europe. Not only now, but often while I sit in the 
midst of the decorated savants of this great city, my 
thoughts turn instinctively to the wife of my bosom, who, 
as the mother of my children, is a thousand times dearer 
to me than she was in the spring-time of life, as the play- 
mate of my childhood and the idol of my youth. To 
your gentle care and loving kindness and wise counsels I 
owe all that I am, and I feel that, with all my successes, 
all my triumphs, with the prospect of lasting fame, I am 
far, very far from being worthy of you ; for when I have 
told you thousands of times that you were too good for 
me I have been in earnest. But while I feel a secret, 
unexpressed gratification at the extraordinary result of 
my visit here, which would not have been made but for 
your persistent entreaties, let us not forget the great 
Author of it all. I have done nothing, but have been 
led along, I know not how, and have followed blindly, 
confidingly, and patiently. Nothing has been done just 
as I would have had it, but all has turned out, or is 
turning out, better than I could have devised. 

Tuesday, October 22, 1861. 

Time enough has elapsed for me to find out some- 
thing of what the doctors say and think. It seems that 
my operations are all the talk among them. The great 
Yelpeau is anxious for me to operate before his young 
men at the Charite, and the young men are absolutely 



running down women to find out if they are fistu- 

Civiale invited me to go to the country with him and 
dine on Sunday. There were twelve or fifteen of us, and 
I was the only one who did not speak Trench. Tom 
Pratt and Dr. Oldfield, an Englishman, were there. I 
had a very pleasant but rather stupid time, as I did not 
speak French. Civiale begs me to become his pupil and 
learn the art of lithotripsy. I have a great mind to 
write you what he said. It looks well enough on paper 
when you alone see it, but not to others when repeated. 
On Saturday last I went to the Hopital Xecker, where 
the great Civiale is on service. I was standing in a row 
with some medical students, and the old gentleman 
passed by, bowing to the students as he walked along. 
As his eye caught me, he stopped suddenly and came up 
to me, and, taking me by the hand, he launched forth a 
terrific tirade which I took to be something compli- 
mentary, but could not understand a word he said. Of 
course I bowed veiw humbly, but could make no reply. 
Pratt was not with me, but a young Englishman standing 
by said, " TTell, doctor, I must translate that for you ; it 
is too good to be lost ; it is this : ' I beg to render you my 
homage. You are a true surgeon. Such gentleness and 
firmness, such dexterity and skill, such judgment and 
courage, I have never seen before combined in such 
exact proportions in any one man. "What a great litho- 
triptist you would have made. Come and be my pupil.' " 
When we were riding in the cars on Sunday, with Civi- 


ale, out to his country-place, lie said to Tom, " Is it so, 
that the doctor has received six thousand francs for an 
operation in private practice ? " Tom said, " JSTo, sir ; he 
has not received six sous." " Well," said Civiale, " the 
doctors are talking about his great fees, and about his 
wonderful operations." So you see I am discussed in 
private circles, as well as in hospitals, and clinics, and so- 
cieties. Yesterday I had a delightful visit from Sir 
Joseph Olliffe, who came to congratulate me on the 
operation on Friday, and to ask to see the next operation 
I am to perform. You can hardly imagine the furore 
and enthusiasm the doctors are passing through now on 
the subject of my operations. To-night I dine at Dr. 
Preterre's. It seems that the occasion was to bring me in 
contact with some influential litterateurs in the profession, 
who have set their heads together to do me justice in 
French, or rather Continental, medical literature. How 
providential it all seems. 

I am now unexpectedly finishing this letter in Lon- 
don. Dr. Campbell received a letter the other day from 
Baker Brown, saying that he wished me to come to Lon- 
don to perform an operation for him, and, just as I was 
making up my mind to come, Professor Gosselin wrote 
me that Mr. Curling had written to him to come to Lon- 
don to operate on a case for him. So, under this double 
inducement, I left Paris last night and arrived here at 
six this morning. I must tell you that the case I oper- 
ated on last Friday is perfectly cured. You know that 
I dreaded London, for I feared that they would not re- 


ceive me so kindly there as elsewhere, but I have been 
mistaken. I have not been treated better anywhere 
than in London, and here they are ready to do me ample 
justice at once. I saw Baker Brown operate for ovariot- 
omy to-day. It was splendid. He performed several 
minor operations, and asked my opinion about a difficult 
case or two. He called for a speculum, and when it was 
brought he held it up and said, " Dr. Sims, I believe this 
is your speculum." I replied, " Yes sir, and I am glad 
you have found it out, for you have not done me justice 
in applying the name of another man to that speculum." 
There were twenty doctors present, and I spoke pretty 
sharply but not rudely. He felt it, and said very prompt- 
ly, "I understand that you have been breathing ven- 
geance against me because I called this speculum by 
another man's name ; and here, before these medical gen- 
tlemen, I wish to make the amende honorable. I have 
been imposed upon and deceived, and so has the profes- 
sion at large, not only here, but all over Europe, by your 
countryman who pretended to have been the inventor of 
the speculum ; and I acknowledge that I have done you 
injustice, but I did it ignorantly. I shall rectify the 
error, and will hereafter do you the justice that is due 
you." Of course he acted very nobly in speaking out 
like a man before the whole crowd. 

Paris, November 1, 1861. 

The unfortunate state of political affairs at home 
places us in a very precarious position. I feel that we 


are not worth one dollar to-day. Let us do as we always 
have done, accept our position as we find it, and look con- 
tinually to Him who overrules all things for the best. 
Financially the war ruins us. I have nothing but wife, 
children, health, reputation, and plenty of labor. So far 
a man is blessed. I am content, nay happy, and truly 
thankful that I am so well off. Our property in New 
York is valueless to us, and will soon be worth nothing. 
Our property at the South yields nothing, and may all be 
lost under the sequestration act. If we remain in New 
York, the probabilities are that it will all go into the Con- 
federate treasury. If we take the oath of allegiance to 
the Northern States, it is absolutely certain to be confis- 
cated, and I will be worse off pecuniarily but better off 
professionally. I am just as well satisfied, just as cheer- 
ful and happy, as I can be under the circumstances. You 
know I always have a happy faculty of accommodating 
myself to any position in which I may be placed. I wish 
you to go and see Mr. Simeon Draper, and tell him that 
I came over here to remain six weeks ; that the Govern- 
ment, since then, requires every American citizen to get 
a passport and to take the oath. Tell him that my father 
and all my family are rebels, that they are fighting for 
the Confederate government, and that I sympathize with 
them ; that if I did not I would be, as a man, totally un- 
worthy of the confidence that he and all the good people 
of New York have placed in me for the last eight years. 
That however much of the rebel I may be at heart, he 
knows very well that I am as incapable of doing a trai- 


torous act, against the flag under which we live at the 
North, as a five-year-old child would be. My sentiments 
I can not help, for I lived forty years of my life at the 
South. The companions of my youth are the leaders of 
the great Southern rebellion. My father, now seventy- 
three years of age, is one of its soldiers ; our whole fami- 
ly are in arms ; your father and mother, my mother, and 
one of our beloved children have graves on Southern 
soil, and how under heaven could we be otherwise than 
as we are, unless lost to all sense of humanity. Give this 
letter to Mr. Draper to read, and after that, if he gives 
you his assurance that I shall not be subjected to any 
indignity or annoyance on my return home, let me know. 
If he hesitates one second, let me know it, and my resolu- 
tion is taken. Somehow or other you have on one or 
more occasions been placed in the position of assuming 
great responsibilities in piloting our little life-boat, and 
your presence of mind, your judgment, and your courage 
have always been equal to the emergency, and I have the 
most unbounded confidence in your wisdom. You are 
again placed in that trying position ; and now, under all 
the circumstances, I ask you this question and leave it to 
your decision : Do you think it would be wise for us to 
remain in Europe until the war is over ? Think of this 
and write me your decision, and what you say that will I 
do. If our two furnished houses could be rented for 
enough to pay off their mortgage, interest, taxes, etc., and 
leave something over, it would be better than living in 
them, for here we can live in a cottage in the suburbs of 


Paris for very little, while I could give my time to the 
preparation and publication of my works, which the 
world outside of the Woman's Hospital is sadly in need 
of. I would have some time to devote to you and the 
children, and really I don't think the change would be a 
very unhappy one. Is it not strange to hear one speak 
so calmly about such a sad reverse of fortune ? I suppose 
if I were put in Fort Lafayette I would make a virtue of 
necessity, and turn it all to the best account. But, if we 
go into voluntary exile here, it would not be an exile of 
want or destitution by any means. Turn me loose to-day 
anywhere in Europe, and I shall be able to support you 
all in a modest and unpretentious style. I feel that I 
have now equally as much influence in Europe as in my 
own country. You can not imagine what an interest I 
have created here by my professional labors ; and in six 
weeks from this I could sit down anywhere and draw 
patients in abundance. This grows out of the fact that 
Paris is like New York. It is to Europe what New York 
is to our whole country. One of my friends and counsel- 
ors said to me yesterday that my Parisian baptism is my 
salvation in Europe. I have already operated four times, 
and in all cases successfully. I operated to-day for Yel- 
peau, at La Charite. It was a great occasion. Many 
distinguished men were present, and a large class of stu- 
dents. The case had been previously operated on about 
seventeen times by Joubard de Lamballe. Yelpeau, 
Malgaigne and Denonvilliers were perfectly delighted. 
After the operation, I said if the young men wished it I 


would make any explanations or answer any questions 
they might ask. I was too modest to say I would deliver 
a lecture. The young men took their seats, and Velpeau, 
Malgaigne, Denonvilliers, Trelot, and a host of other 
old fellows sat by me. As I talked, Mr. Soucon, a medi- 
cal student from New Orleans, a student of Professor 
Stone's, sat by and translated as I spoke, and everybody 
seemed perfectly satisfied with his rendering of the sub- 
ject. I never saw such complete satisfaction in all my 
life. Malgaigne, who is nicknamed the " Barking Dog " 
because he snarls and growls at everybody, sat there pa- 
tiently all the time, occasionally asking a question on 
some point that he did not comprehend, and when he left 
he shook my hand, and thanked me cordially over and 
over again, and everybody said that he was never known 
to speak well of any one, or to any one in a familiar way 
before. They consider my triumph over him as an era 
in surgical polemics. Colonel Robert E. Cox was there, 
and he says the lecture was one of the best that he ever 
heard. That grows out of the fact that a man can not 
afford to say a silly thing, or to waste words, when they 
are to be rendered in another language. 


It has been deemed proper to include the following letters of 
Dr. Sims in this volume, as they mark two great transition periods 
in his career ; one the period of his struggling advance, the other 
that of assured triumph. 

The Fourth of July address is included, as it serves to illustrate 
the breadth of his views upon current political topics, and to prove 
that the great surgeon, who had been decorated by crowned heads 
in many lands, was also by conviction and sentiment a true Ameri- 

But a few out of the many memorial resolutions and addresses, 
published upon the occasion of his universally lamented death, are 
here included. It would be impossible to include all within the 
compass of a book of reasonable size, and hence those only are 
given which are not only tributes to his professional character and 
achievements, but to his virtues as a man, to whom the duties of 
life were more than life. 

Requesting the Mother of his Betrothed to consent to their 


Lancasterville, June 12, 1835. 
Mrs. Jones, 

Dear Madam : The relationship existing between your daughter 
Theresa and myself I feel in duty bound to disclose to you. That 
I have not done so before was not, I assure you, owing to any want 
of respect for you personally, or for your authority and natural 
right to be consulted in such a matter, but rather to the peculiar 
circumstances under which I have been placed. In these may be 
found some apology for what I know to be a transgression of right, 
and of your rights. 

Theresa and myself have mutually plighted our faith to each 

i:; thz -7:7.7 .7 1:7 i:n 

other, aDcL, I need scarcely add, it is oar earnest an i :_ t :•: 
to obtain the approbation of yourselr i _ 

who with, you hare a reasonable and jnst right to control the affair 
in an j fray. 1 do not propo ; _- nnri^T 7 — 

stance? render it inexpei tl: — : : 1 wish first to give yon am ear- 
nest of what I mayherei, .-: : - but of that -z . till I \jzz -._-.:_- 
fied on the first poll 

I know that as a mother, holding tibe deamest iaierert amd wel- 
fare of an affectionate child at neart, 70a wffl. gave tike subject that 
mature consideration wMen it deserves, and I hope tihat it wim mot 
be long till I hear the resul : 

from the suspense which necessarily oppresses tine ■dad in a mat- 
ter of such importance, and one, toft, of doubtful issue, 
I asm, with the hk 

i» Search of a Some in &e Wat iefowe getfmg MmrrmL 
Morsrr "Mktgs. Alabama, JkmmAtr •£, l&SSu 

weeks' siege of iL Myself and : ":':: 

a delightful r. -_.-:: : : — : ; 1 : : -. - z :■-. : 1 

which was exceedingly unpleasant, as we lhad not a drop of ram 

from the time we left Columbia. I stood das alow mode of moving 

along remaafcaHy well, and wait- 

Columbia here, mot riding more imam two or tfaree males a day om 

am average. I visited Mr. Adams to-day. He was very pofite to 

us, but «>gf^-Hted to invite me to cam at Ms mouse* eomseememtiy I 

haTe not seen his wife. 

To-morrow I expect to visit Messm Carter, Ward, Ckwetett^ 
and Lanier, and from Hiere I snal go to see Mr. Stimg. Seat 
week I set out on a toar through some of tme districts west of tins. 
I design gam? across to Perry amd Greene Counties, then down 
through Marengo and Wilcox, tfcenee through Lowndes amd Mont- 
gomery, Back to Mount Meags. la tins range of country, some- 
where, I mope to find a realingplaee. Mount Meigs as a fine stand 
1 and I have Been strongly advised to iiiuniiiin mere; 
but I shall not be in a hurry about locating. fts ©est to tale tame 
and look well I hare on-^ 
is unquestionably one of the most dJHffwpated fitlfle phases I ever saw. 


At this very moment there are about a dozen or twenty men, of the 
most profane cast, drunk and fighting, in the street below my win- 
dow, with a negro playing a banjo (I believe it is so called) in their 
midst. I am informed that this scene is not at all uncommon here. 
This is, unfortunately, the character of almost all the little towns 
and villages in these new counties. 

If I should not find a place in Alabama that I like, I shall direct 
my course to Mississippi. In selecting a home, I shall always re- 
member that there is only one whose happiness is the darling wish 
of my soul. I shall not only look around for a place of making 
money, but, if possible, I will locate where there is good society, 
and consequently there can be social enjoyment. 

I am happy to say I have been in the finest sort of spirits ever 
since I left home. You, Theresa, should not indulge in melancholy 
reflections. Whenever you are about to take the "blues," go over 
and plague Cousin Nancy till you laugh yourself out of them. Al- 
though I am so far removed from you, you'll suffer me to prescribe 
in this instance, if you please. 

I wish, if you please, you would get the last letter Aunt Sally 
wrote me, from Cousin Ann, hand it to my father on his return 
home, and after that keep it till I visit sweet old Carolina again. 

Kemember me most affectionately to your dear mother and fam- 
ily. Tell Cousin Mary Ann, etc., for me. I expect to write again 
before I get to my home. Till then good-bye, Theresa. 

J. Marion Sims. 

Mount Meigs, Alabama, November 13, 1835. 
My dear Theresa : I know you will be surprised when I tell 
you I have at length concluded to make this place my home. When 
I wrote last I had not visited or consulted with any of my friends 
about the affair. I have been prevailed upon by strong solicitations 
to locate myself here without looking any further. What I then 
told you of Mount Meigs is literally true, though I judged altogether 
from superficial appearances. There are a great many vagabonds 
(if I should judge from appearances) that frequent this place for the 
special purpose of frolicking, which has given it a desperate charac- 
ter abroad. It, however, has its redeeming qualities. Mount Meigs 
will, in the course of twelve or fifteen months, be a very desirable 
place, because the society will in that time be excellent. There 


is a very large spring in the immediate vicinity (say five or six 
hundred yards distant) at which several gentlemen are now making 
preparations to build. Colonel Campbell, Colonel Keen, Mayor 
Ashurst, his brother, and brother-in-law Ward Crockett, will all 
build at the spring. Crockett's house will be finished in the course 
of the winter. I expect to board with him. In addition to the 
above-named gentlemen, there are other families at Mount Meigs. 
Mr. Lucas and his step son-in-law Mr. Charles, who married Miss 
Fanny Taylor, of Columbia. Upon the whole, I think I have made a 
judicious selection as far as society is concerned. It was on your 
account, Theresa, that I at first rejected Mount Meigs, and it was on 
your account that I afterward concluded to remain here. As to 
the prospects of making a living here — I set up in opposition to one 
of the most popular men in the county or perhaps State — he is ex- 
ceedingly popular as a man, and equally so as a physician, and no 
doubt deservedly so. I shall ever feel grateful to my friends Lanier, 
Adams and Crockett, for the interest they seem to manifest for my 
welfare. Mount Meigs has generally been considered very healthy, 
but the vicinity is a rich, densely-populated country, and withal 
sickly. If, with such opposition as Dr. Lucas, I can support myself 
and pay my debts next year, I shall think that I have done a fine 
business, though some of my sanguine friends say that they will in- 
sure two or three times that much. To-day I bought all of Dr. 
Childers's books and medicines, he is going to Mobile ; about sixty 
years old and very eminent in his profession — has been practicing 
here for the last year — he has a great many friends and is using 
his influence for me. I have already found several valuable friends, 
but my dear Theresa I must take leave of you again. Do write to 
me soon, don't put it off, it's my last request, Theresa. 

J. Marion Sims. 

Mount Meigs, Alabama, December 31, 1835. 
My dear, dear Theresa : Why in the world don't you write to 
me? I can't conceive what possible shadow of excuse you can have. 
Heretofore you had valid reasons for not writing, but now the 
whole affair is known at home, and you can leisurely sit down and 
write to me at any time you please. Theresa, you must excuse me 
for writing so ardently. You have been from home, from friends 
and relations, you know what it is to look anxiously for some in- 


telligence from them, and look in vain. You must therefore be in 
some measure conscious of the painful anxiety of mind I now labor 
under. Theresa, I say no more than the truth when I declare that 
you are nearer to me than any brother or sister I have (and heaven 
knows I love them dearly). Is it, then, a matter of surprise that I 
should beg, entreat, and even chide, because you appear to forget 
me ? I know you have not forgotten me, but I speak of appear- 
ances. Of course I would feel easier and more happy if you would 
from time to time give me some evidence of continued attachment. 
I am certain that you are constant ; don't construe what I have said 
into any apprehension on my part of a want of the most untiring 
constancy in you — far from it. I could not possibly believe that 
any one could bear with such Eoman fortitude,, Theresa, 
have endured, with such unflinching firmness — the strenuous op- 
position you have encountered — and at this late hour retreat. I could 
not believe it. Think not, then, that I have any doubts. I only wish 
you to make certain, more sure. It has been nearly three months 
since I left home and I have received but two letters, one from sis- 
ter a few days ago, and a few scratches of the pen from brother 
Wash. Not one word from you to cheer me on in the path of duty 
and to comfort what few leisure hours I have. But you have al- 
ready become tired of this scold. I repeat, Theresa, you must ex- 
cuse me. All the time I can spare from my studies and practice I 
spend in writing to my friends. What I tell you about my prospects 
and practice is confidential — it would look like vaunting to speak 
candidly about it to any other individual than yourself. My friends 
accumulate hourly. My practice increases daily — in fact I have as 
much as I want, and so far I have more than divided the practice 
witli Dr. Lucas, my opponent, who is one of the most popular men 
in Alabama. It is not sickly, but I am constantly employed, there's 
not a day but I have something to do. I have the glorious consola- 
tion of knowing (to a certainty) that, by a very simple operation, I 
have saved one man's life who was left by older physicians to die. 
In his neighborhood the people believe in me, l)ut I begin to feel 
almost ashamed of writing in this tone. I fear you'll set me down 
as an egotist. Theresa, I believe that generally I express my opin- 
ion too freely to you, but you must look over these little things. It's 
human nature. We must always have some one to confer with, 
some friend into whose attentive ear we can pour our secret 


thoughts and speculations ; but I must stop this apology for my 
egotism, merely because I fear I shall make bad worse. 

Theresa, be not angry with my importuning you. Will you write 
to me? " I pause for a reply." I shall wait for an answer. Give 
my love to your dear mother, and sister Mary. Let me, through you, 
congratulate my friends Mr. and Mrs. Thornwell. 

For the present I take leave of you, Theresa. 

J. Maeiox Sims. 

Mount Meigs, January 10, 1836. 

Oh, my dear Theresa, can you forgive me for the scold I gave you 
last week? I have repented it fifty times to-night since the recep- 
tion of your dear, long-looked-for letter. I have read it with the 
greatest avidity, and read again and again, and am not yet tired. 
Theresa, if you could but imagine what immense pleasure and grati- 
fication it is to me to hear from you, I feel confident that you would 
not let me remain another three months without writing to me. It 
seems to make my spirits more buoyant, and is an additional stimu- 
lus to industry. 

In this little Mount Meigs — which is nothing but a pile of gin- 
houses, stables, blacksmith -shops, grog-shops, taverns and stores, 
thrown together in one promiscuous huddle — I say in this trifling 
place, our engagement is talked of by everybody as currently as in 
old Lancaster. How in the world it got out I can't divine; some 
great wide-mouthed fool from Carolina stopped a few days ago at 
the post-office and inquired for me. He gave the young men at 
the office (who are very particular friends of mine) our whole his- 
tory, courtship, and the time that was appointed for solemnizing the 
marriage ceremony ; in fact, he appeared to know as much or more 
about it than I do. He told the young men his name, but they for- 
got it. Whoever he may be, he is most assuredly an uncommonly 
smart fellow. However, I am perfectly satisfied about it. This 
evening, as I was telling Mrs. Adams that I had written to Rush 
and gave her compliments, etc., to him, a lady sitting by (Mrs. 
Shellman) exclaimed, " Well, when you wrote to Miss Jones did you 
give her my love." I need not say what my predicament was. or 
whose face could have lighted a candle. I got out of her clutches 
the best way I could, which was by acknowledging everything she 
said, for it was all the truth. You may now consider yourself pre- 


sented with the love, etc., of Mrs. Shell man ; she is a fine little 
woman and always says what she thinks. 

I have spent an intolerably dull Christmas, for I was the whole time 
in the sick chamber. Ward Crockett came near giving up the ghost 
about that time, but is now Well. There was a ball in the town of 
Montgomery about a week ago, but I did not attend it. There were 
one hundred ladies and as many gentlemen at it ; I had but little 
temptation to go, though some of my warmest young friends per- 
suaded me very strenuously. On such occasions I always think of 
Cousin Nancy and the advice she gave, and I have frequently thought 
of her, and as frequently endeavored to follow the wholesome advice. 
It was this: "Never sacrifice duty to pleasure." I always consid- 
ered it my duty as well as interest to be ever found at my post, and 
could therefore leave home on no other pretext than that of profes- 
sional business. As it is very late, and my fire burnt down, I must 
for the present say farewell. That's a doleful word, and I never 
like to pronounce it, much less to write it. 

Theresa, be sure you write to me soon, let it not be more than 
two weeks at the utmost. Eemember now, my dear Theresa, two 
weeks is the limit. 

I remain, with the same ever fond, endearing attachment, 

Good-bye, Theresa, 

J. Maeion Sims. 

P. S. I am now boarding with Mr. Adams. Mrs. Adams is the 
same pleasant little woman that she ever was. Remember me affec- 
tionately to your dear mother and all the Conguss folks. I should 
be glad to receive a letter from our sweet little cousin Mary Ann. 
Do let me know how Wash is getting; he was very sick, you know, 
when I left home. I hope he is convalescent, at least I think he is 
not dangerous ; inquire of his physician, if you please. 

Again, good-night, Theresa. 

J. Marion Sims. 

It's strange that you have not received a letter from me in five 
weeks — I have written four, I think. J. M. S. 

Mount Meigs, Alabama, January 30, 1836. 
My dear Theeesa : I am certain yon can't divine the object of 
this letter. You may expect me in old Lancaster about the 16th or 


18th of February, and, as soon after that as is perfectly convenient, 
I wish to have a final adjustment and consummation of all our love 
matters. Be ready, prepared for our wedding and for Alabama, 
and you will make me the happiest man. 

O, Theresa, I do long to see you, my dearest girl — Be ready, 
Theresa ! 

Till I see you, good-by, my dearest, dearest Theresa. 

J. Maeion Sims. 

Mount Meigs, Alabama, January 30, 1836. 

My deae Mes. Jones : I must acknowledge that I feel somewhat 
embarrassed in addressing you this letter. Nothing but a false deli- 
cacy, combined with some uncertainty in my movements and success, 
caused me to postpone an explicit understanding relative to the pro- 
posed connection that I hope to form in your family. You know 
that I have been long and devotedly attached to Theresa, that this 
attachment has existed, as it were, from childhood, and that it has 
been strengthened by long cherished and intimate friendship. Two 
years and a half have elapsed since our mutual faith was plighted, 
and I have naturally looked forward with interest and anxiety to the 
final consummation of this, the first darling wish of my soul. My cir- 
cumstances and prospects you as a mother have a right to inquire 
into. I have succeeded in making arrangements that I knew nothing 
of when I wrote to Ool. Witherspoon a few days ago. I have ob- 
tained a lot, and have lumber ready cut to put up a comfortable little 
house, which I presume can not be finished before the first of May or 
June. Till then I have procured board in a private family. I wi]l 
be in Lancaster on or before the 18th of next month, February. It 
will be out of my power to remain longer than 10 or 12 days, because 
I can't do so without making considerable sacrifices here. 

My dear Mrs. Jones, 

I remain your ever affectionate friend and faithful 

J. Maeion Sims. 

Mrs. E. I. Jones, Lancaster, S. 0. 

Mount Meigs, Alabama, April 1, 1836. 

My deae Theeesa : I am once again safe at home after a long 
and tedious, but withal delightful siege of traveling. In Phila- 
delphia! spent ten days very pleasantly indeed. I've taken Aunt 


Sally and all her little family by surprise. I found Virginia well 
and in good spirits. She has improved very much in every respect. 
I never thought that she had a strong constitution, but the severe 
northern winter did not appear to impair her health in the least — 
on the contrary she has grown considerably, looks better, and her 
general health is excellent. Aunt Sally says that slie is talented 
and very studious. She performs well on the piano and sings delight- 
fully. I shall not praise her any more at present, but merely say 
that, by her amiable deportment and sweet disposition, she has won 
the affections of every young lady and child in the school. 

I called on Miss Rogers and all my acquaintances in the city. 
They invariably inquired whether I was married or not. I would 
have liked to answer in the affirmative, but doubtless it will be 
better, after a short lapse of time, that circumstances prevented 
it for the present, for " whatever is, is right." I gave Aunt Sally 
the present you sent her, with which she appeared to be delighted. 
She spoke frequently and affectionately of you, regretting very much 
that you did not visit Philadelphia last fall. She says that she never 
expects to see you as long as she lives. 

I send you by Rush a small memento which I requested him to 
give to you, provided Mrs. Jones interposes no objection ; but, if 
possibly there should be any, of course you'll not want it. Theresa, 
the wind blows favorably now, all opposition is happily done away 
with, and everything is peace and harmony. You can scarcely 
imagine what the state of my mind is now, compared to what it 
was last year this time. Then it was racked with doubts and mis- 
givings, and perplexed with anticipated evils; now it is compara- 
tively calm and easy. I know that the time will come, and speedily 
(for it's limited to nine months), when all will be settled. I know, 
too, that your precious mother is better reconciled : and this makes 
me more contented, for there is no sacrifice so great that I would 
not make to conciliate her. When I think of her situation, that 
of a tender, doating mother, I say to myself, "Do as you would 
be done by," and whenever I have had the philosophy to call this 
golden rule into action I feel certain that I never experienced any 
regrets in consequence. I believe I heard you say that you liked 
a matter of fact letter, and not one filled with moralizing, etc. As 
I have no news to communicate that would at all interest you, I 
must instead of facts give you ideas, though they may be expressed 


so incoherently as not to be comprehensible always. However, the 
chain of connection is plain in my own mind, though it may appear 
a confused affair to another. Then excuse. 

This is the first day of April. April fooling is in great fashion 
here. Mrs. Judkins sent me up to see Miss Shellman, saying that 
she had the most excruciating toothache, and wished me to go and 
extract it. I assure you I felt rather awkward when I went with 
my instruments and found that I had been " fooled" 

Next Monday, the 4th of April, is, I believe, your birthday. I 
shall not forget it, neither can I forget, among many other fond 
recollections, that on that day — 1836 — I was completely and totally 
" used up." However, all's well now, and I am amply repaid for 
all such cruel acts, though they were not altogether voluntary. 
Have you heard anything from Wash or any of the volunteers since 
their arrival in Florida ? How is Cousin Marian ? I expect her 
to write to me as well as yourself. 

Theresa, remember what I told you. Write to me. Give my 
love to Mrs. Jones and family. 

Good-by, my ever dear Theresa. 

J. Maeion Sims. 

Mount Meigs, Alabama, April 13, 1836. 
My deae, deae Theeesa: I had the blues most horribly last 
night. I could not help thinking of home — of you. During my ab- 
sence from Alabama a friend of mine was married, and his brother 
gave him a party last evening. I shared his hospitality, but, in- 
deed, a small portion of pleasure fell to my lot. I feel now, when 
in the company of young ladies, that I can't possibly do or say any- 
thing calculated to interest or please, and, therefore, only take 
pains not to excite the displeasure of any. This feeliDg of indiffer- 
ence it is impossible for me to master ; but this is as it should be, 
for I exult in saying that my heart is inthralled, that it belongs to 
one only. This being the case, it is not unnatural that I should 
manifest so little solicitude about the company of others, indeed, 
their presence only serves to remind me more forcibly of the absent, 
and, therefore, did I say that I was afflicted with a slight paroxysm 
of the blue devils. . . . The party was small and select. The young 
ladies generally looked "pretty fiercely " I may say handsome ; their 
manners open, frank, and pleasant, not being trammeled with too 


great a show of formality and etiquette. The minds of the mass of 
them were not, however, extremely well cultivated, though they 
could make a noise on the piano, dance gracefully, dress splendidly, 
and talk nonsense enough for anybody's use — unfortunately, nowa- 
days, these accomplishments, as they are termed, instead of being 
thought superfluous, or rather supplemental, are made the very basis 
of female education — but I commenced to give you an idea of these 
Alabama lassies, and not to write a dissertation on education. A 
few of these misses, as is usual in such a crowd, were thought to be 
beautiful — what a pity that girls generally will tell, by their actions, 
that they are aware of the fact! — this was the case with some of 
these, and, of course, they were rather too " airy" to please such an 
old gentleman as myself. But, to be serious, I could not help con- 
trasting with these the one I love. Theresa, I never was in the 
habit of praising you to your face. I know you have too much 
sense to suffer flattery, and I too high a regard, too much love 
for you to attempt such a thing. I am wholly incapable of it. 
Truth in commendation is not flattery, even though it should be 
misdirected. I say that the contrast involuntarily arose in my 
mind. How I hate affectation and coquetry. "Love is blind" I 
know ; but I must say that such things could never elude my ob- 
servations. Theresa, I have told you more than once that I love 
you ; yet words vainly essay to convey an idea of the degree and 
intensity of that love. Should I say that time, space, and a thou- 
sand new faces could not effect a change in my present sentiments, 
you, I am certain, would believe me sincere, though you might an- 
swer that I was human, and frailty was natural. What on this 
earth ought to make one happier than the idea of being sincerely 
loved ? I ought to be satisfied, for I feel certain that I am loved for 
myself alone. I am poor, very poor, and you have always known 
it ; yet I rejoice in this poverty when it buys such love as yours. 
I have nothing to boast of, nothing, Theresa, but you. These are 
not unmeaning words. I speak as I feel, but, heaven knows, not 
half as much. Think me not romantic, I never was, but delight in 
reality, be it ever so sad. 

I have called on Mrs. Howard again. " All's well." She ap- 
pears to be contented ; but I assure you there is a great difference 
between her situation here, for comfort, and the one she enjoyed in 
old Lancaster. We have to make a great many sacrifices, and en- 


dure many privations, by moving to this or any other new country. 
I am no ways backward in telling you the truth, for I am anxious 
to prepare your mind for the worst. If there is to be any disap- 
pointment 1 want it, if possible, to be agreeable. About a week 
ago I received a letter from Brother "Wash. It was written with 
his characteristic brevity, and dated at Volusia, March 24th, and 
says : " If I am not killed, it is uncertain which way I shall return 
home. Write to meat St. Augustine and inform me whether you 
are married or not. If you are, it is possible that I may pay you a 
visit before I return home. Give my love to Marian and Theresa, 
and tell them farewell for me— farewell." (Signed.) 

I shall ever regret that I did not go with Wash and my friends 
to Florida. My brother is there. It is not always prudent to say 

what we think; but, when I think of old H 's treatment of 

and Wash on the eve of his leaving home, it makes me too 

hot. I never can forget or forgive that act in the old colonel. I had 
more charity for him than to suppose for a moment that he could 
possibly be guilty of such an act of cruelty. A Turk would not 
have done more! I am anxious to hear from you. I have not 

heard from since I left there. Farewell, my dear Theresa. 

J. Marion Sims. 

Mount Meigs, Alabama, May 11, 1836. 
Theresa, my dearest girl, your precious letter was duly received, 
for which you have my acknowledgment — a thousand thanks. I 
would certainly have answered it before this time but (as I sup- 
pose) you are aware that the mail has been stopped, in consequence 
of the disturbances in the Creek Nation. The whole country is in a 
perfect uproar. Women and children are flying in every direction, 
for the last two days. The road here has been strewed with these 
helpless creatures, leaving their houses and homes to be plundered 
by the ruthless savage. Most of the chiefs are friendly, but they 
say that they can't possibly control their young warriors, and that 
a fight is inevitable. About four hundred men from this section of 
country will march into the Nation to-morrow or next day, which 
I think will act as a most powerful sedative on these infurated, hot- 
blooded animals. Our village is crowded to-night with women and 
children who have fled from the Nation. Forty or fifty families 
have crossed Line Creek to-day. Really it is a melancholy specta- 


cle to look at them, to bear them describe the situation of the coun- 
try and the consternation of the inhabitants. If such scenes as 
this are not sufficient to stimulate to action, and to fan into a flame 
the last latent sparks of chivalry, I don't know what would be. 
Any man who would openly refuse, under such circumstances as 
these, to march to the rescue of his fellow-citizens, would not justly 
be entitled to the protection of the community in which he lived, 
much less to the affection that any fair friend might bear him. 
But you have heard of " Ulans and rumors of Ulans " till you are 
tired of it. You have already suffered painful anxiety enough about 
your friends and acquaintances who went to Florida, without hav- 
ing your feelings too much excited or your sympathies too deeply 
enlisted by a description of our suffering here. Tell -Rush that, if 
he wishes to visit this country this spring, he can't now come as a 
traveling gentleman, but he can come in the capacity of a " knight- 
errant." It is thought that there will be ample room now for a 
display of gallantry; that those restless young spirits, panting for 
glory and military renown, may now have an opportunity of evinc- 
ing their courage and immortalizing themselves. Think not, though, 
that I am one of these adventurers. I am satisfied with doing my 
duty in giving protection and assistance to the defenseless inhab- 
itants — but I promised to say no more about wars. However, it 
may turn out, as everybody says, that there will be a first-rate 
chance of getting a fight out of the Indians. Some of those young 
fellows will have fun over these if there's fun in fighting. If Major 
G. put this letter in the post-office after he got there, please let 
my father know these facts. I have not time to write to him at 
this moment. Two of his last letters have been received. 

Remember me kindly and affectionately to your dear mother and 
Rush and all of my friends. Promise to write to you whenever I 
have a chance of sending the letter to any place in Georgia. 

Farewell, Theresa. Ever yours. Love to " Marion," and tell her 
" blessed is he (she) who holdeth out to the last." Again, farewell, 
my dearest Theresa. J. Marion Sims. 

Tuskegee, Alabama, June 4, 1836. 

My dear Theresa : I have just time to drop you a few lines. 
I write by a company of engineers returning to Columbus. This 
morning our company was (as they call it) honorably discharged. 


I have been long enough in the service to become tired of it. We 
lived well indeed, not suffering any of the privations to which our 
Florida vohmtec -:omecL The only thing we lacked 

a a chance of fighting. I never saw men so hungry for a fight 
in my life, hut I suppose that it will be the least troublesome of all 
the labors that those who remain will have to undergo. 

I presume you have heard by this time that Mr. Thifer arrived 
safely at home. He had a hard time of it. He was out three days 
and nights without a mouthful to eat, etc A minute history of 
what he had to suffer would make one's heart ache. I had an 
account of the affair from one that was with him. His trunk has 
been seen lying by the road-side (being labeled), but it was torn open 
and everything taken out. 

I shall in a few minutes leave here f or Moun: Y. ,:- Et:-.~ 
ing if you please, we have to do as we can in camps. 
Give my respects : my ;:usins, friends, and remember me most 
affectionately to your dear mother. 

For a time farewell, my dear Theresa. 

J. Ma biox Sims. 

Moust Meigs, Alabama. June 2&, 1836. 

My dear, deae Thebesa: I have just this moment received 
brother letter dated the 1st of June. Sorry indeed am I if 

I have inadvertently given you uneasiness by not writing more fre- 
quently. I wrote to you by Maj i Gibson, a dt ro before he 
marched to the Nation. A :~~ lays afterward I wrote to father 
and Rush, and, when & discharged, I wrote again to my 
father and yourself. These letters were intrusted to gentlemen sol- 
diers going on to Columbus, who promised to place them in the 
post-office there. I presume that ere this time they have all come 
to hand, if they had not when brother's letter was received. "Wash 
gave me a tremendous scolding. Ifs all just enough. After enu- 
merating what I must write to you about, brother says: "Tell her 
all that a lover can tell, or all that a lover can ask." With regard 

the Cheek Ulan, we are here altogether ignorant of what is going 
on in the Xation. Various and innumerable contradictory rumors 
are flying through the country. We don't know what to believe. 
Report says that this portion of the army was within a few miles 
of the camp of the hostile Indians last week, and intended attack- 


ing them immediately; that when they went there the Indians had 
decamped, that they took some negroes that the Indians had stolen, 
with five hundred bushels of corn and three hundred head of cattle, 
together with some fifty or sixty prisoners, one of the head chiefs 
among- them. 

1 fear that it will be a long time yet before peace and tranquillity 
are restored to this section of country, though let not this frighten 
you, for it must not prevent our connubial arrangements in the fall. 
I am just as safe here, and as much out of danger, as you are in 
Lancaster. Think me not premature, Theresa, if I here speak of 
appointing the wedding-day, etc., for it takes a letter so long to 
travel from here to Carolina, it's well enough to begin in time. I 
find that I can't leave this place before December, which I expect 
to early in the month, so that I may spend the Christmas holidays 
in old Lancaster. I would suggest the appointment of any day 
(Sunday excepted) between the 10th and 20th of December, pro- 
vided it meets your approbation. I beg you when you write to me 
to define some particular day for the occasion, as it will be too late 
after I get there to do so and make the necessary arrangements. I 
hope now that you will not forget this. You might possibly neglect 
to say anything about it for a time, but I don't think you can easily 

Wash seems to be in a desperate way ; I wish you w T ould pre- 
scribe for him. Tell him there's nothing like patience and perse- 
verance. I have tried in my own case and found it beneficial. I 
would, therefore, strenuously recommend it to all those afflicted 
in like manner ; such medicines frequently answer an admirable 
purpose, when harsher remedies have proved totally inefficient, if 
not detrimental. It's a hard case. I know it troubles your mind 
in some degree, for you can not but sympathize with individuals so 
unfortunately circumstanced, particularly when you feel so much 
interest in their personal welfare and future happiness. 

Remember me, Theresa, most affectionately to your precious 
mother and her dear family. Tell Eush to write to me, if he has 
not already done so. Let me hear from you, if you please. Give 
me all the news, for I have had nothing particular from home 

Farewell, my dear, dear Theresa. 

J. Marion Sims. 


Mount Meigs, Alabama, July SO, 1836. 

My deae Theeesa : It is now midnight. I have just returned 
from the country, and found Dan Clarke at the hotel. The oppor- 
tunity is so fine that I would be committing a criminal act if I did 
not take time to write you a few lines. 

I am in perfectly good health, and, as usual, in very fine spirits. 
You have seen that the Indian war is probably at an end; three or 
four days ago about three thousand Indians were taken from Mont- 
gomery, on board of two steamboats chartered for the purpose, to 
Arkansas. The war was completed much sooner than I anticipated, 
but I can't conceive that any or much praise is to be awarded to 
the whites in consequence. The credit of bringing it to a close 
is principally due to two friendly chiefs, Opothlo - Yohola and 

I have been very tardy about building my house, etc. ; the fact is, 
the Creek war distracted the whole country so much that it was im- 
possible for me to do anything about it. I could not procure a lot 
with which I was pleased, and thought I had better postpone buying 
for a while. I had rather go to housekeeping than to "board out," 
and shall consequently rent a house and lot, provided it is perfectly 
agreeable, to you, which I shall presume to be the case unless you 
say otherwise. 

When you write, pray don't forget the few little " preliminaries " 
I mentioned in my last letter. I should like to have ail these little 
affairs adjusted and understood. 

"What in the world " is the reason that Rush has not answered 
my letter ? Not the scratch of a pen have I received from him since 
we parted in New York. Has he forgotten me? Is it accidental or 
is it intentional? It can't be. He must either not have received 
my note, or else his answer is written and never come to hand. Do 
tell him to write to me, his friend. 

Remember me dearly to Cousin "Nancy and my never-to-be-for- 
gotten friend Mr. Thormule. Tell Cousin Mary Ann to walk Spanish 
and Charlie not to walk crooked. Give my love to your dear mother, 
and sister Mary. Do write to me, my dear Theresa, for I am almost 
crazy to hear from yon. 

Good-night. Farewell, Theresa. 

J. Maeiox Sims. 


Mount Meigs, Alabama, August 21, 1836. 

My deak Thekesa : I received your very affectionate letter this 
morning, together with one from Sister Marion, and Aunt Sally, 
which have kept me on the " grin " all day. I don't know what 
would have become of me if they had not come to hand at the time, 
for Rush had left me for " Sweet, sweet home " about two hours 
before. I scarcely can tell how the last week has slipped away. 
Eush (my dearest friend), I must say, has been as liberal with me in 
his visit as I could have asked, considering he had been absent so 
long and was so anxious to get back. He ran around with me eight 
days, and when he left I had on (I am told) a face about a yard long, 
but my gloominess was wholly dissipated on the reception of your 
kind letter. Indeed, Theresa, if you only knew how much you 
could and have contributed to my happiness and contentment by 
writing, I feel confident that you would most assuredly exercise 
your pen more frequently. Don't understand me as complaining 
now, for I have already done that sufficiently. I would give any- 
thing, at least something handsome, if I could only recall the scold- 
ing letter I wrote you by your brother Rush. You will receive this 
though before he can get home. Consider, then, that I recall every- 
thing in the shape of a quarrel which I have unfortunately written 
by him. I am sorry that I did not put it off a while longer, but 
really I had despaired of ever receiving the scratch of a pen from you 
again. I say that I recall, for u I know that you, too, are of a forgiving 
disposition. 1 ' It gives me the greatest pleasure imaginable to know 
that you have spent your time so agreeably during the summer, for 
naturally enough I am only happy in proportion as I know that you 
are so ; there is nothing surprising in the sympathy existing between 
two kindred souls, particularly when they are on the eve of being 
amalgamated, united into one. It was certainly from a knowledge 
of this that we are told in divine revelation to "laugh with those 
that laugh, and weep with those that weep." But I perceive that 
I am becoming grave. 

Your Uncle Wash and Miss Eaigan ! "Well, I was truly a little 
surprised, but very agreeably so. I say to him, Davy Crockett like, 
" go ahead." "We will certainly have " big doings " in old Lancaster 
this fall if Rush and Miss Mourning, your Uncle "Wash and Miss 
Raigan, etc., etc., should make it out. " The more the merrier," as 
the saying is, and I don't care how many there are. Why don't 



somebody spur George up. I suppose, though, that he is too much 
devoted to his profession to be guilty of any thing like this kind of 
gallantry. I am sorry for those Lancaster boys, they are as bad off 
for some object to bestow their affections on as the young men of 
Alabama ; they would do well to import a few lassies, or at least, to 
transport them. I should like very much to see the young man in 
Sumter you say looks so much like me, for I have never yet seen 
a piece of flesh I thought myself to resemble except one, and he was 
as ugly as sin and wicked as Satan ; physically, perhaps, there was a 
resemblance, but, morally, I must say there was none, for (I think) 
I am not half as bad as I used to be. I don t allow that Sumter 
youngster to look like me, and — but no matter— I feel mischievous 
this evening anyhow, am a privileged character in the way of talk- 
ing and writing. Sisters, Virginia, Aunt Sally and all were very 
well on the 8th inst., and had nothing to do but visit, as this is the 
month of vacation. Father had paid them a visit of five days, and 
they were delighted. Sally tells me to " have patience," that "De- 
cember " will be here before long, etc., she says she has bought you a 
" bridal present " which she intended sending by father. The ap- 
pointment of the special day you have so kindly and liberally given 
to me, that I designate " Wednesday, the fourteenth of December," 
provided, etc. Remember the fourteenth. I presume you will have 
four attendants, as it is the order of the day (it will suit me per- 
fectly whether we have half a dozen or none at all). I expect Rush, 
Frank Massey, Bill Davis and Le Massey, all doctors. That will be 
a real physical wedding. I have said nothing to Rush about it as 
yet ; I can talk to anybody else with greater freedom on this topic, 
and yet with him I am always under the greatest restraint. " 'Tis 
strange." I am not tired of writing, but I suppose you had as leave 
stop reading. I therefore accommodate you. Give my love to your 
dear mother. I expect to trouble her with a brief letter some day, 
provided I can bring my courage up to the point. 

Farewell, my dear Theresa. 

J. Maeiox Sims. 

Mount Meigs, Alabama, October 10, 1836. 
Oh, my dear Theresa, I received your very affectionate letter 
day before yesterday, and you can't possibly imagine the effect it 
had on my spirits. Since I wrote to Brother Wash, I am sorry to 


say I have had a second relapse ; however, it lasted but four days, 
and I am now improving rapidly. I am able to walk across my 
room (which is about 12 feet), and can sit straight in bed (without a 
prop) whenever I eat. You may perhaps think this is getting along 
slowly, but I assure you I feel proud that I am able to say this much. 
I was taken sick on the 3d of September, and have been prostrated 
ever since, a span of five weeks. I am reduced to nothing but skin 
and bones ; it could not have been otherwise, for I have been literally 
physicked to death. Once, while so sick, I thought that I was going 
to die. "When in health I have always been of the opinion that I 
could face death without any dread, but there is a grand difference 
between one's feelings while blessed with a strong and healthy con- 
stitution and when the body is emaciated, worn down by disease, 
and covered with a cold, clammy perspiration, with a mind corre- 
spondingly prostrated ; then is the time that death appears in all its 
terrors to the mind of him who feels conscious that his course of life 
has not been in consistence with all the just principles of moral and 
religious rectitude, and then the idea of dying among strangers. 
Oh, it's terrible beyond description ! I have written till I feel very 
feeble and must conclude. As soon as I am able to travel from here 
to Carolina I intend to leave here, but it will be some considerable 
time first, perhaps not before the 20th November. If I should im- 
prove faster than I expect, I shall come sooner. 

Eease Prin and the doctor passed through this place last night. 
Mr. and Mrs. Howard and most of their family have been sick, but 
are now well or improving. McKinzie's family have all been healthy. 
I am extremely sorry indeed to hear that Dr. Brown is dead, and 
that Lancaster has been so wretchedly sickly. Dr. Tom's match 
surprised me no little I assure you. How do Dr. Wash and Sum- 
ter make it ? Have the colonel and the Sumter widow made a 
bargain or not? Rush will understand why I have not written to 
him. Please give Rush, your dear mother, and sister Mary, and all 
the family my love. I received a letter from Sister Miriam this 
morning dated 29th September. All were then well, though at a loss 
to know why I had not written to them. When I get straight I'll 
make the mails groan with letters, for time lost must be made up. 

I must bid you adieu, my head grows dizzy. 

Farewell, my dear, dear Theresa. 

J. Maeion Sims. 


Letter to his Father after his JRemoval to Hew York. 

79 Madison Avenue, New York, Augmt 8, 1855. 

My dear Fathee : At last I have some good news to write you, 
such as I never expected till within the last month. I confess I 
am surprised at it, and perhaps you may be so too. " I am still not 
only living, but feel like a tolerably sound man again. I have never 
been so nigh well since I lost my health, last March was five years 
ago. I know I can not write you better news than this, and nothiDg 
that should unite us more perfectly in lifting our hearts in thankful- 
ness to Him who orders all things wisely and well. 

It is strange how often I have been raised up, when it seemed 
impossible for me to live ; and yet not strange when I see the finger 
of God directing so plainly a destiny which I pray may be profitable 
to others on earth, and profitable to me in eternity. These aflic- 
tions are necessary to my spiritual welfare, they are necessary to 
my usefulness here, and are not the result of mere accident. I know 
full well that I have a mission to fulfill — one to which my life is 
most willingly devoted — but which should not interfere with my 
looking forward to a purer existence hereafter. 

You and I, my dear father, have both been very bad men, con- 
sidering we were almost faultless in all the duties and relations of 
life. We have been mere moralists. "We thought ourselves as good 
as anybody, and far better than most people. We never dreamed of 
our own sinfulness and utter unworthiness. Instead of looking to a 
Saviour for help, we have felt in our own hearts a plea of self-right- 
eousness, which makes us occupy a more dangerous ground than the 
out-breaking sinner. Because it is hard for us who are good moral- 
ists to see our depravity, while the blasphemer and law-breaker 
may all at once be perfectly overwhelmed at the contemplation of 
the enormity of his transgressions. 

When we occupy such a dangerous position, one so securely for- 
tified, how are we to be brought to terms? How are we to ac- 
knowledge that we are rebels, that we have taken up arms against 
our Father? He has said that nothing but an unconditional surren- 
der will suit Him, and He has pointed out the only way that He will 
receive our approach. The Saviour is the way. But have we 
chosen the way? or have we come up presenting our own merits 
and pleading our own justification? Fathers are generally forgiving 


— you know that — for you have had to forgive much. But Our 
Father in Heaven is more forgiving than all others. He has to use 
different means with his several rebellious children, according to cir- 
cumstances. With those who are strongly fortified on the almost 
unapproachable hill of morality, nothing but the strongest artillery 
will do any good — small arms are of no use. They are only scorned, 
laughed at. It requires long guns of the largest size. 

Our lives, my dear father, have been very similar. Our success- 
es aud contented lot in early life and our moral sort of religion were 
alike. Our reverses of fortune and our afflictions have been simi- 
lar, occurring about the same period of our career. 

Father, these reverses and afflictions are the long guns, whose 
work of demolition should long ago have brought us to- terms. See 
what afflictions I have passed through in the last four years. Till 
the death of our little Merry I knew no great trouble (save the one 
that gave you and me so much unhappiness). Since then what have 
I not suffered. My physical diseases were not so great as Job's, 
but then they seemed almost more than I could bear. With these 
came the maltreatment and persecutions of my own brothers-in-law ; 
then money tribulations ; then disappointments in men ; then an 
exile from home and friends ; a separation from the father whose 
declining days I had fondly hoped to have rendered pleasant and 
happy ; then difficulties, disappointments, obstacles and tribulations 
here, which, superadded to my real physical sufferings, almost drove 
me to the mad-house ; all troubles of such countless variety that I 
care not to recall them except in general terms. But I see the fin- 
ger of God in all, and I feel that it was absolutely necessary for me 
to have passed through precisely what I. have to make me what I 
am. One blow less would hardly have produced the desired effect. 

I have said, father, that our lives and fortunes have not been 
dissimilar. My own happy lot and subsequent reverses I have 
briefly recounted. Bear with me while I as briefly bring to mind 
yours. I tread npon sacred ground, but it is one that a dutiful son 
may well survey with an affectionate father. You were a good 
moral man, fulfilling admirably all the duties of life. As a son, hus- 
band, father, master, private citizen or public officer, you were 
faultless. You know it. You felt it, and in your heart you told 
your Heavenly Father so. You rested your claims to a better world 
hereafter upon your, own good deeds here. You felt not the need 


of a Saviour (I judge, of course, from your past life, aud by looking 
into my own heart), for they who feel the need of a physician call 
out for help. 

God prospered you. He gave you health. He blessed you with 
a wife who was a model for her son. He gave you a most inter- 
esting family of children, in whom your heart was wrapped up. and 
for whose education you labored and sacrificed yourself as only a 
good father could do. He gave you warm and true friends. Nh 
man ever had letter. He gave you success in all the mere earthly 
objects of life. But did all this bring you nigher to the good Giver 
of all these good gifts. Did you feel that they came from Him. 
Did you feel that in yourself you were unworthy, that you could 
not come directly to Him pleading your own good works, and that 
you must approach Him through a Mediator and feel your need of a 
Saviour. I can not recall any evidences of this during this time of 
prosperity. God wanted to bring the heart of so good a man as you 
nearer to Him. Intrenched as you were on the great hill of mo- 
rality, he could not do it by any very gentle means. Having tried 
all other means, the heaviest artillery was opened upon you. The 
death of a beautiful boy, ten years old, was the first Absalom ! How 
it wrung your heart ! Scarcely less than did the death of Absalom, 
the brat of poor old David! Was this all?! would to God 
it had been enough. The batteries were opened, and nothing but an 
unconditional surrender would be sufficient. What next ? A few 
unimportant reverses, a few disappointments in men, much anxiety 
about worldly affairs, defeat, annoyances, all in quick succession, 
and then came the great and fatal blow — the death of my mother. 

T9 Madison Avenue, Xetv York, December 23, 1854* 
My deab Theeesa : We are all getting on as well as it is pos- 
sible for us to do in your absence. We try to do the best we can. 
Knickerbocker is less fretful to-night than he has been at any time 
since you left. Of course you know he has been fretting only be- 
cause he misses you. and not in consequence of the vaccination, for 
that is drying up. Mrs. MeC. washes and dresses the little fellow 
every morning. I don't see him as often as I expected. Mary 
brought him down yesterday afternoon after her return from school. 
She says they had a big time at the school yesterday. The presen- 
tation to Miss Miller of a silver pitcher by her pupils was made, when 


she resigned her charge, amid a general bellowing of the young 
animals. I hope her successor may be as competent and as good 
as she is. It's a great loss to us to part with her, and I can not but 
feel very anxious about the new superintendent. 

Granville went to Flatbush to-day, and begged me to let him stay 
with Johnny during the whole vacation, till Tuesday week, the 2d 
of January, but I told him it would not be proper for him to tire 
the good people out entirely, and he must come home on Wednes- 
day. You and Harry, Sharpey and Fanny all being absent, makes 
quite a vacuum in our family circle. Mary and Eliza are nice girls. 
They behave with great propriety. They are quiet and dignified. 
They remain mostly in their rooms, occasionally sit awhile in the 
office. I can't help praising them up a little even to their mother. 
You very well know that I am not in the habit of praising either 
of them, so you may feel sure that it is from no disposition to flat- 
ter. I am making up my mind to change their music teacher, al- 
though I have not mentioned it to either of them. Having the opin- 
ion that I do of madame, and knowing what you think of her, I 
don't think we should retain her as a teacher after this quarter. 

Cold ! cold ! gloriously cold ! The weather is magnificent. It 
has been intensely cold ever since you left. First-rate hog-killing 
time. I know they would be glad of a touch of this sort of weather 
round about Montgomery. It is now midnight, and it is sleeting 
hard — too cold to snow — but, while I am luxuriating in the cold, it 
carries distress into the haunts of the poor. The distress here can 
hardly be imagined. Several meetings of mechanics out of employ 
have been held in the park, and some most inflammatory speeches 
made, where the speakers were loudly cheered when they spoke of 
oppression of capital over labor, and the necessity, if it came to the 
worst, of bursting the doors of storehouses and taking what they 

"What a contrast between this country and the South. Here we 
have vagrancy and pauperism, and all its attendant ills of vice, crime, 
and degradation, which we never see in a slave population. Here 
I feel that the time may come when a man may not be secure in the 
accumulation or enjoyment of wealth. The great and good Peter 
Cooper says that the millionaires of this country have much to dread 
from the popular voice; that the time may come when the masses 
may vote away, confiscate, as it were, their hoarded wealth — but 


this is not the theme for a letter to you. We are here and can't 
help ourselves. Providence has placed us here and will, I have no 
doubt, take care of us. 

I have been to see Mrs. Peck to-night. She is as courageous as 
BTer. I find that she is not only interested in the hospital move- 
ment, but she is feeling great interest in my own business. She 
wanted to know whether I would go to see a lady friend of hers, 
who had been complaining for some time and was not wholly satis- 
fied about her condition. So you see how the great movement will 
operate when we gel it properly started; but money! money! 
money ! How are we to live till I can get properly at work — I have 
but two dollars ; don't like to call on Mr. Clay for any more. My 
clothes are not good enough for me to make the appearance that I 
ought, considering my claims and pretensions, so I am obliged to 
have a decent suit, but how it is to come I don't know. Although 
I write thus, don't think for a moment I am despondent: I never 
felt more confident of success or more cheerful. I am not gloomy. 
I feel a power within me that is irresistible. I feel that I am in the 
hands of God, that I have a high and holy mission to perform, that 
his blessing has already crowned my efforts, and that He will in due 
time raise up friends to assist me in my labors. This is coming 
about daily. How differently am I situated from what I was three 
months ago, and I am gaining power almost hourly. 

S|i&. — Have been to hear Dr. Adams to-day. The new church 
at the foot of Madison Avenue was dedicated. Went there again 
to-night to hear Dr. Bethune, but the house was so crowded that I 
could not stand the ritecL contaminated air of the place. I rather 
liked Dr. Adams. The church is a good one to hear in, and I would 
be willing to have a pew there if they are not rented at too great 
a price. 

Mrs. Greer has volunteered to call in her carriage some morning 
soon, and take me down to Amir Street, and introduce me to some 
rich, working women who will help me with the hospital. One of 
the Conncilmen called on me with Mr. Stna:: ; restenhy, but I was 
not at home. I am to see him soon. Mr. Stuart is to introduce 
me to the Ifayoi ~L.: ; week, and to several of the Conncilmen. 
yon see the work goes bravely on. It would have ruined every- 
thing if I had left here for a month. 

I I ray God you may be able to arrange our affairs so as to secure 


the daily bread for a year to come. About the negroes — well, I 
think it best to sell them. We are bound to do it some time, and I 
don't see why it should be procrastinated. They might not sell as 
well as they would some time ago, but I reckon they would bring 
good prices if they were sold on time with good security ; but do 
as you and Mr. Lucas and father may on consultation think best. 
We must live, and my present position must be maintained here, let 
it cost what it may. I can't back out, nor would I if I could. The 
prize is too great, too glittering, not to be grasped when it seems so 
easy to do it. 

It is Christmas eve and midnight. I have just been up to the 
children's room. They are fast asleep, and have hung up stockings 
near my bed for old Santa Claus. How they will be disappointed 
in the morning. Well, I must get them something to-morrow. 
Negroes and children always expect liberal presents on Christmas. 
I was too busy yesterday to think of such things, and to-day being 
Sunday puts it out of my power, even if I had money. "What do I 
care for money — I have what is better than money, and what money 
can not buy, I have health. I feel that I have an honest heart, and 
a mind intent upon great and good purposes. I have a loving, con- 
fiding wife. I have dutiful and healthy children. I have friends a 
plenty, the comforts of a good home, and an almost illimitable pros- 
pect of future usefulness. Good God! was ever man more blessed 
on this earth. Why, then, should I feel uneasy a moment about a 
few hundred contemptible coppers, when I know that this scarcity 
is but temporary, and that the time must soon come when I shall 
have an abundance. 

Kiss Harry for me. Eemember me to father, Mr. and Mrs. 
Lucas, and the lots of friends you may see, and believe me, my dear 
wife, ever your devoted husband, J. Marion Sims. 

Mrs. Eliza Theresa Sims, Montgomery, Alabama. 

79 Madison Avenue, New York, December 25, 1854- 
My dear Theresa : I have been at home all day. Mr. Stuart 
dined with us. AVe have had rather a stupid time of it. Mr. R. 
and myself played a game of chess just before dinner# It was too 
hard work, and I told him he could not rob me of another hour and 
a half so profitlessly. He made the chess a Christmas present to 


Mary. To Eliza he gave a Deat breast-pin, to Carrie some candies. 
The other girls went down to see Mrs. Swezey this afternoon. 
They took tea with her, and Mr. S. came home with them. Carrie 
and the Kissam children went next door, and with the Green chil- 
dren have had quite a frolic since tea, while Mary and Eliza have 
been up-stairs with Knickerbocker. I am fully repaid for your ab- 
sence, by having an opportunity of finding out more of our two old- 
est children. It is odd that a father should know so little of his 
children, and unfortunate that he should be so incapable of under- 
standing and appreciating their true worth. Mary and Eliza both 
exhibit so much good sense, such decorous deportment, such gentle- 
ness and such affection for each other, that I am quite in love with 
them. Willie is the best boy in the city. He improves daily. It 
is really ridiculous to see Mrs. McCerren curling his hair — hair that 
is so rudimentary that it requires a microscope to see it. His arm 
is getting well. I think he is two or three pounds heavier than 
when you left. Tell my Alabama boy that there is danger of the 
old Harry being supplanted by old Knick. 

Our household is getting on very well. The children were all 
allowed to dine at the first table to-day, and they behaved very 
well. Mrs. S. gave them a big dinner. The Catholics had a great 
time last night. They had high mass at midnight and did not get 
home till about two o'clock, and poor old Mrs. D. has had the 
mulligrubs all day. Truly, I have never seen any one whose re- 
ligious duties so mortify the flesh as do her fastings and prayers. 
She was never intended for a Catholic. She is so only by accident 
and a forced habit. 

I was complaining to you yesterday about my clothes. To-day 
I hunted up a coat that was laid aside last spring, and Mary Doyle 
gave it a good scrubbing, so that I have determined to make it 
carry me through the holidays rather than ask credit or borrow any 
more money, although I am satisfied that I ought to dress better 
than I do. But I feel that a clear head and a good heart are far 
better than fine linen and fine clothes. It's good to be poor, pro- 
vided that poverty does not oppress and wholly crush us out. I am 
just about poor enough to be stimulated to extraordinary efforts ; 
yet I feel that if I was a little more distressed I could hardly bear 
it. God in His mercy has, in my case, most assuredly tempered the 
wind to the shorn lamb. Am I not peculiarly blessed ? Does not 


the light shine in upon our darkened path as we never dreamed of 
seeing it ? Is not the finger of God visible in all our afflictions ? Is 
He not blessing us more than we deserve? Oh, what a glorious 
thing it is to feel, to know, to realize that you are a blessed instru- 
ment in the hands of God for the accomplishment of good! When 
I pause to consider what I have done here, and how it has been 
effected, I can not but acknowledge that an overruling Providence 
has wisely directed all things for the best. When I look back and 
remember bow my heart quailed before the dangers that surrounded 
us, how I was just on the eve of surrendering all as lost, bow de- 
spair almost drove me to madness, and when I call to mind your 
gentle tones of encouragement, your blind and implicit reliance 
upon Divine Providence, your high moral fortitude and self-sacri- 
ficing efforts, dare I say I would have had it otherwise? No, no. 
It is all for the best, and the time is not far distant when* we shall 
rejoice that we have passed through this period of tribulation ; when 
we shall really laugh at the remembrance of the tears of bitterness 
that were then shed. Was ever a man's wife more literally his 
ministering angel? Every period of my life, from youth to the 
present hour, attests the fact. All that I am and hope to be I owe 
to you. How different would have been my destiny but for the 
influence exercised by you 1 

Indeed, my dear wife, I fear I am hardly a worthy husband ; 
but it is not in my nature to be a better one. 

May God bless you in your mission, and return you safely to 
your family, is the prayer of your devoted husband, 

J. Marion Sims. 

Mrs. Eliza Theresa Sims, Montgomery, Alabama. 

79 Madison Avenue, New York, December 29, 1854- 
My deak Theresa : The more I think of the negroes, the more 
am I satisfied that it is wholly to their advantage to have good 
homes. Let them understand that is impossible for us to keep them, 
that our necessities will compel us to a sale at no distant day, per- 
haps in less than a year, and that it is better for them to have homes 
of their own selection than to be sold under a mortgage to the 
highest bidder, for then they may fall into the hands of traders and 
be carried clear off. If we could afford to keep them, we would be 
glad to do so, but already are there mortgages on some of them, and 


there is no telling when they may be foreclosed. It is true that the 
evil day may be postponed for a little while longer, but it is certain 
to come, and we only consult the interests cf the negroes by asking 
them to select homes now. 

Oupe must be sold, it matters not how things go, and all the rest 
had better make up their minds to it. As to Abby's coming here, 
I am satisfied it would not suit her. She would never be happy 
here, and then we would have to let her go back again, and really, in 
our embarrassed, circumstances, the luxury of gratifying her would 
be entirely too expensive. If we had our own house, so we could 
give her a comfortable room and make her happy, we might think 
of bringing her. It seems to me the best plan is for them all to 
select their homes, and, if the persons they severally wish to live 
with are not able to pay down the purchase money, they can be sold 
on any reasonable time, by having payment secured by undoubted 
paper. If they determine not to do this, they must take the conse- 
quence, and absolve us from blame, if by-and-by they should find 
cause to regret it. Let them understand our straitened circum- 
stances, that we are obliged to live, that we have now no means but 
by sacrificing property, if our friends do not step forward and help 
us, and they will certainly see the dilemma in which we are placed, 
that the proposition to sell them is not one of choice, but of dire 
necessity. Let them know that it would be to our advantage to re- 
tain them, as it would afford us an income from their hire which 
would be of great assistance to us. Let them know, too, that it lacer- 
ates our hearts as much it does theirs to be compelled to the course 
we suggest. As you are there among them, I see that you have a 
difficult task before you. My heart aches at its contemplation. 

The Sayne children are here. All's well. Knick is doing finely. 
He will captivate you completely when you get back again. His 
hair grows finely. I should suppose it was at least a quarter of an 
inch long. You can see it without holding him sidewise in the sun. 
Tell the Alabama boy that the Knickerbocker brother sends a heap 
of love to him and wishes to see him. I hope Harry is a good boy, 
and that he will return home greatly improved by his extensive 

I don't know what to make of Dr. J. He has not written me a 
word about Mrs. S. in a week. I suppose, however, that she is 
doing well or he would be clamorous for my presence up there. 


Mr. R. calls for the letter, so I must close. I can't pretend to 
particularize, where we have so many friends, but just remem- 
ber me with gratitude to all. To them I owe everything. But 
for their just appreciation and tender care of me, when I needed it, 
I could have done nothing. No man ever had better or truer friends, 
and no man's heart was ever more bitterly wrung at separating from 
such. But it is all right. This expatriation, as it were, almost 
made me mad, but now I would not have it otherwise. 

May God bless you, my dear wife, and return you safely to your 
affectionate husband, J. Maeion Sims. 

Mrs. Eliza Theresa Sims, Montgomery, Alabama. 

*79 Madison Avenue, New York, December 31, 185Jf. 
My dear Theresa : It is near midnight, and the old year is 
flickering out. Ah ! what saddening thoughts are always associated 
with the death, even of time. The birth of the New-Year brings with 
it bright hopes, the realization of which depends more upon ourselves 
than we are apt to imagine. "While we regret the misspent time of 
the old year, let us resolve to profit by past experience, and improve 
every moment of the new. We will soon be old. What we do in this 
life must be done quickly. Look back. Eighteen years have we 
been one. Our lives have glided smoothly, happily. We have lived 
for each other. Mutual confidence and mutual love have made us 
as happy as it is possible for mortals to be. We have been blessed 
with dutiful, fine children. We have had all the comforts, nay, even 
the luxuries of life. We have had more than the average degree of 
health. We have been blessed with friends, and the great objects 
of life with us have been eminently successful. Have we not much 
to be thankful for? Have we been really sufficiently so? Have we 
done our duty to our children, to ourselves, to our God? We have 
not. We have well and faithfully fulfilled all the other relations 
of life, but the moral culture of our children we have neglected, our 
own religious promptings we have smothered, and the whisperings, 
nay, the loud calls of the Holy Spirit we have slighted. Do we 
not then stand self-condemned ? What, then, is to be done ? Repent 
and give our hearts to God. Let us try to do this and we shall feel 
that we are in the line of our duty. Why hesitate ? Why wait a 
moment ? A public profession of the religion that I know glows in 
your heart is all that is needed. The power of your example will 


do more for the moral elevation and religious culture of the rest of 
us than whole volumes of sermons. Your whole life is a sermon. 
"Why not, then, preach it ? Your heart is full of religion. Why not, 
then, openly declare it ? If you do not take the first step forward, 
then we shall remain in the darkness and doubt. But do you say 
there is no church here for you to unite with ? This poor excuse 
can not exist after this. At last I have found the house of God I 
was willing to visit a second time — the man I was glad to hear 
more than once. It is Dr. Adams. You can not but be pleased 
with him. Religion is a matter of culture. The preached word is 
as necessary to the growth of grace as is rain to the growth of grain. 
Ah ! my dear wife, we have been too happy in ourselves to give 
much attention to spiritual affairs. But, while we are still happy, 
let us not longer forget what is so palpably our duty. 

January 1, 1855.— Five hours of quiet rest have infused new life 
into me for the day. What a beautiful, bright, glorious day ! The 
sun is just rising, and all nature favors the gay season. Everything 
is frozen up ; the streets are therefore dry and favorable to pedes- 
trians. The air light, bracing and life-giving. What a day is this 
in New York! Who will rejoice more than the ladies when its 
rollicking jollities are over? Would you suppose I had the names of 
forty-eight on my list of calls ? I expect to get to about half a dozen 
places. You know how I hate mere idle compliments, bowing in 
and bobbing out. I would not go at all, but I may have a chance to 
drop a good word somewhere for the advancement of the cause, the 
cause of poor suffering woman. This is at the bottom of my breast, 
it is at the top of my throat, it fills my brain. It is the grand moral 
object of my professional life. For this I work, for you I live. 
Your affectionate husband, 

J. Mabion Sims. 

Mrs. Eliza Theresa Sims, Montgomery, Alabama. 

79 Madison Avenue, New York, January 7, 1854. 
My deae Theeesa : Your welcome New- Year's letter was re- 
ceived yesterday, and afforded me great gratification to see how much 
better you are attending to the great objects of your mission than I 
could have done — while it would certainly have been almost ruinous 
for me to have left here. The work goes on bravely. Last night 
Mrs. Hutchings took me to see Mrs. Dr. Marvin, a lady who was 


instrumental in founding and managing the " Home of the Friend- 
less." She lives in Brooklyn, but is on a visit at Mrs. Stone's, who 
is one of the Fifth Avenue aristocracy. I never felt better, and 
they gave me scope to explain all my plans. Mrs. M. will become a 
co-worker, and will join Mrs. Peck and others, and I think, from 
the great interest manifested by Mrs. Stone, that she too will join 
in the movement. To-morrow morning, at half past nine o'clock, I 
am to call at Mrs. Stone's to accompany Mrs. M. to see Mrs. Haw- 
kins, who was the prime mover, the real mother of the "Home." 
I pray God to give me wisdom, the power of language, and tact to 
enlist her and others on the side of this great humanitary move- 

Next to you and our children stands in my affections the success 
of this glorious mission. When I look into my heart I do not see 
that my motives are at all selfish. The only selfishness that I feel 
is the desire to do good, to be a benefactor of my race, and I sin- 
cerely pray that my labors may be blessed, so far as they tend to 
relieve suffering humanity, to advance the cause of science, and to 
elevate the condition of the medical profession. You can under- 
stand me. The world may not. It is a glorious thing to feel that 
you are above the dross and glitter of mere pageantry. Money is 
trash, and may be blown away by the wind. Honors are evanes- 
cent, and may be snatched by another. Even reputation may be 
tarnished by the slanderous tongue of an envious villain, but the 
proud consciousness of rectitude, coupled with true benevolence, 
lives in the heart of its possessor, and is as immortal as the soul 

I have heard to-day three good sermons. The morning and 
evening services at Dr. Adams's. I like him very much, and I am 
sure you will be pleased with him. The pews there are to be sold 
on Wednesday night. I fear they will exclude us poor folks from 
the church. I hope, however, we shall always be able to find a 
place there whenever we wish to worship with them. The after- 
noon service I attended at Dr. Van Ness's in Twenty-first Street 
near Sixth Avenue, where the Eev. Mr. Ouyler preached to young 
women on their Christian duties and destiny. It was a very elo- 
quent address. Mr. B. generally goes to church with me. I have 
become quite attached to him, and also to Mr. D., who I find to be a 
very clever fellow indeed. 


I received a letter from Mrs. Watkins two days ago. She had 
arrived safely ; found all well. She was a show^ in Huntsville, and 
seems to have been lionized. Mrs. Coles, her cousin, will come on as 
soon as she hears that there is room in the house for her. 

The children are all well, and Willie is the best child I ever saw. 
Mary stuffs him all the time. She keeps him chock full. He has 
no time to be bad. He eats and sleeps, laughs and grows fat. You 
will hardly know him when you get home, and I am sure he will 
hardly know you either. He is the admiration of the household, 
and tell Harry he is becoming quite a pet with his papa. 

Remember me, my dear wife, kindly to all our friends, and, be- 
lieve me, your devoted husband, J. Maeion Sims. 

Mrs. Eliza Theresa Sims, Montgomery, Alabama. 

P. S. — We are all as anxious to have you at home as you can 
be to get here, but don't you think you had better take a week 
longer and make a pop call on Aunt Betsey and Sister Mary. Think 
of it. JJ.S. 

79 Madison Avenue, New York, January 2, 1855. 

Mr deae Theeesa : Your letter of the 26th makes me easy on 
a very important matter — the money for which Mr. Lucas is my 
security, and what I owe him. Certainly this removes a great 
weight from us, and I can not feel thankful enough in being blessed 
with so good a friend. I know you will do what is exactly right in 
reference to the negroes. Sell what are necessary for immediate 
purposes. They will be sacrificed, but no matter, we must live, let 
it cost what it may. 

Times are tight, but, thank God, we have good friends, some 
means, and a stout heart. I have never felt firmer. Indeed, I am 
getting stronger in my position every day. I have had several con- 
sultations since you left. To-day saw a case of ovarian disease. 
* I have just returned from a visit to Mrs. Gilbert, the wife of the 
elegant and efficient clerk of the Board of Education. She volun- 
teered to help me in the hospital movement, and is willing to take 
a place on the Executive Committee. She is a working woman. 
Has brains as well as a heart. To acquire so efficient a woman is a 
good evening's work for the great cause. I did not get through 
with my calls yesterday, and that was the reason of my calling on 


Mrs. Gilbert to-night. I told you in my letter yesterday that some 
good would come out of these New- Year's calls. Two days in the 
year mark us as a peculiar people — the 1st of May and the 1st of 
January. On May-day everything and everybody is en deshabille, 
but on New- Year's day all is prim and tidy. 

But for Dr. Stillman I should have made a booby of myself stay- 
ing at home all day, after calling on three or four of our neighbors. 
He came in and said I was going to do a very stupid thing if I re- 
mained at home, and so with him I had to go. We called together 
at Mrs. Dodge's, Peter Cooper's, Curtis's, and some others of the 
upper-ten, when I got fairly in for it and continued calling till after 
nine o'clock. And I found out that the ladies, after getting every- 
thing ready, are really disappointed if their friends* do not come. 
So you see Dr. Stillman saved me from making the silly mistake of 
staying at home. I went to thirty-three places, and got home more 
sober than some of my friends. Mary and Eliza received your calls, 
and entertained your friends with sweetmeats and hot coffee. I 
had long cozy times at Mrs. Pryor's, Mrs. Kate Emmet's, Mrs. 
Clay's, Mrs. Hutching's (tell Miss Martha they all looked well 
there), and at Mrs. Crane's. 

Well, I must brag a little about Knick. He is the best boy of 
his age in New York, and he grows so rapidly you will not know 
him when you get home. Mrs. McCerren takes great pains with 
him, and makes him look very nice indeed. I think him much bet- 
ter-looking than Harry was at the same age. 

There's luck in leisure. I hope Miss Mary will have a good time 
of it, and that her home will be as good as she deserves, and her life 
as happy as it is possible for a married woman's to be. 

Sorry to hear that Puss has been Taylored, but of course this 
gives Mrs. W. a fair chance to come out, as she could not now be a 
rival of her daughter. 

I go to Portland to-morrow. Hope I shall get a letter from you 
before I leave. 

The children started to school to-day. They like Miss Miller's 
substitute pretty well. I hope she will prove worthy of her high 

Two things I want you to do. Get Mr. Powell to put up some 
new pine (heart pine) boards at our little Merry's grave, to mark 
the place yet a while longer. I hope we will soon be able to get 


Mr. Swezey to put up something handsome for us in the way of a 
monument. The other is, to bring with you your picture, painted 
when you were seventeen years old. Don't forget it. You can 
roll it round something. "Well, take a sheet of pasteboard and roll 
it up so as to make it about six inches in diameter, and then roll 
the picture round this. Don't forget it. I have set my heart on it. 
I just want to see how much better-looking you are now than you 
were at seventeen, that's all. Take your time to come home. Make 
your visit as agreeable as it is possible under the circumstances. 
Don't let anything either there or at home mar the pleasure of the 
trip. Your affectionate husband, 

J. Maeion Sims. 

P. S. — Shall go to Connecticut to-morrow. Can not write again 
for two days. 

79 Madison Avenue, New York, January 15, 1855. 

My deae Theeesa : Yesterday was Sunday. I had received a 
message from Mr. Thorpe (Tom Owen, the bee-hunter) the night 
before to call over to Brooklyn and see Mrs. T., who had been sick 
for the last six or eight weeks. I went early, and after I fulfilled 
my mission I stepped across the street to hear . . . thunder. His 
church is a plain brick one, with a gallery extending forward cov- 
ering nearly half the area of the ground floor, and giving it very 
much the appearance of a theatre with its parquette below and 
amphitheatre above. It was crowded, and he was playing to an 
appreciative audience. His preaching is simply acting. I am sure 
it is not prejudice in me when I say I can not believe that he pos- 
sesses the first ray of spiritual religion. He seems to me to be a 
purely pulpit demagogue, and I judge not from any preconceived 
opinion of the man, but from yesterday's observation of him. 

But, enough of this, the sworn but harmless enemy of his 
country. I intended to go to church in the afternoon (as I had 
gone to the theatre in the morning), but I missed it. I had to 
call and see Jos. Greer, and Mr. G-. and myself got into an old- 
fashioned southern talk about everybody and everything that we 
knew in common, and so the time whirled on so rapidly that as I 
returned home the people were returning from church. But Mr. 
B., Mr. D., and myself all went last night down to Twelfth Street, 
near Sixth Avenue, to hear the Rev. Dr. Murray, of Elizabethtown. 


"Well, the hospital movement. Every spare moment of my time 
is put in. On Saturday morning Mr. Stuart took me over to see 
Alderman Tucker, who immediately comprehended the whole 
scheme, and is to come here at nine o'clock to-night to have a long 
war-talk on the subject He says he will introduce me to all the 
aldermen and councilmen that it is important for me to know, so 
that everything shall be prearranged and well understood before it 
comes up before the Council. Alderman Tucker lives right oppo- 
site Mrs. S. in Thirtieth Street, so as I was in the neighborhood I 
called to see her. She seems to feel like she had known us always, 
went into regular ecstatics at seeing me, asked a thousand anxious 
questions, promised to introduce me to the wife of Alderman Mott, 
and insisted that I should go and see Mrs. Doremus, which I have 
determined to do. So I called at Professor Barker's to see Dr. 
Doremus and inquire when I might find his good mother at home ; 
and by this accidental call I have made a friend of Mrs. B., and the 
doctor has promised to introduce me to some two or three other 
ladies who will co-operate. My whole plans have received an im- 
petus and assumed an importance by my labors since you left that 
they did not possess before. 

The children are all well, and Knick is the best boy in the city. 
Although we are as anxious for you to get home as you are your- 
self, still let not our condition hurry or divert your plans. A week 
longer is as nothing after it is gone. So make yourself as happy as 
you can and come when you get ready. The children all send love 
to mother and Harry. 

Believe me, my dear wife, ever your devoted husband, 

J. Maeion Sims. 

Mrs. Eliza Theresa Sims, Montgomery, Alabama. 

79 Madison Avenue, New York, January % 1855. 
My DEA.R TnERESA: Your letters of the 16th to Mary, and of 
the 17th to me, arrived yesterday. I have felt distressed, first, be- 
cause Harry has been sick, and, second, because it necessarily de- 
tains you from us longer than we expected ; but I have been more 
distressed because I was so sure that you would get off" by the 22d 
that I had ceased to direct letters to Montgomery, and the last two 
written had been dispatched to Lancaster, supposing that they 
would meet you there. Thus you have been so long without let- 


ters that I fear you will make yourself unnecessarily anxious about 
home. "We are all in a magnificent state of preservation, especially 
old Knick, who fattens daily, and is said to be not only good- look- 
ing, but the best child in the city. Fannie and Carrie Sharpe, Eliza 
and Mary are all well ; but Mary has had a cold, for which I have 
kept her at home a whole week. She is now over it, and would 
have gone to school to-day but for the grandest snowstorm I ever 
witnessed. It began to snow early this morning, and continued the 
whole day without the slightest intermission. We had no snow 
last winter as deep as this. Notwithstanding it is more than a foot 
deep, I have to-night walked nearly three miles and have talked 
about two hours. I encountered a real old hardshell, a regular old 
fogy, to-night, in Mrs. Mason of Second Street, who has been for 
upward of thirty years one of the managers of the Marion Street 
Lying-in-Asylum. She couldn't co-operate or sympathize with any 
movement that was not based upon the fact of the " patients being 
able to produce a certificate of good character." You ought to 
have seen the good old woman with her narrow-minded views pitch 
into the "Woman's Hospital" movement as soon as she welcomed 
me. I think you would have felt a little provoked ; but if you 
could have seen the change in her tone when I left you would have 
been amply repaid, for we parted first-rate friends. She invited me 
to come and see her again, and recommended me to see Mrs. Cod- 
wise and some other ladies, and said, as she now fully understood 
the principle of action, she would take great pleasure in recommend- 
ing to all her friends to aid in getting up the Woman's Hospital. 

To-morrow night I am to spend at Mrs. Benedict's, with Mr. 
Gilbert and Mr. Stuart, when we are to draw up just such a 
charter as we want granted by the Legislature. The next night I 
am to go with Mr. Peck to see General Mather, who is one of the 
Peter Cooper reformers, and is an influential man in the Board of 
Councilmen. To-morrow, at ten o'clock in the morning, the own- 
er of one of the brown-stone houses, adjoining the one in which 
Mrs. Seymour lived year before last in Fourth Avenue, is to call 
and see me about renting said house for the temporary Woman's 
Hospital. Mrs. Peck went all through the house yesterday, and 
said it would answer first rate, and I shall take it at a thousand 
dollars. So you see everything goes on bravely. I am getting on 
with the doctors most magnificently. Professor Gilman called to 


see me the other day, and invited me to deliver a lecture on my 
operations before his class. I accepted the polite invitation, and 
will do it on next Saturday week, by which time, perhaps, you may 
be at home. You can't imagine how our friend Stuart crows over 
the " fighting of the chickens," as he terms it. His whole energies 
are now bent on our hospital plans, and he brings me daily in con- 
tact with such men as I could never reach but for and through 

Thursday Morning, 25th. 
This is a glorious morning. It is bright and beautiful. I am 
now at the midday of my life. The sun will soon turn toward the 
horizon, and I must work hard to make my life useful. I have no 
time to waste. If I should be blessed with health I can not calcu- 
late on accomplishing anything after sixty; indeed, in fifteen years 
1 shall be a real old fogy. " Now is the day and now is the hour." 
What I do must be done soon. I don't doubt for a moment the 
success of the great object of my life. I only fear the failure of my 
health ; but I am now well, and I pray God to continue his bless- 
ing on my efforts. Give me health, and even without money I 
shall accomplish wonders with the aids now at my command. I 
shall write again to-morrow, although you may not get the letter. 
I am only sorry that I did not continue to write to you at Mont- 
gomery. Truly your devoted husband, 

J. Marion Sims. 

Mrs. Eliza Theresa Sims, Montgomery, Alabama. 

79 Madison Avenue, New York, February 18, 1855. 

My dear Wife : Only a line can I write, because your letter of 
the 10th received to-day is so absolutely imprecative and imperative 
on late hours that I dare not disobey your gentle mandates, which 
you very well know I have always heeded as a good husband 

Whatever you do about the negroes is all right. I don't allow 
myself a moment's thought, further than the anxiety I might natu- 
rally feel about the trouble it gives you, my model wife. 

I was glad to hear that my poor, puny chick had at last ventured 
to eat one dinner. I hope she has continued steadfast in the good 


I was rejoiced to hear yon say yon would run over to Columbus 
: : see Aunt Betsey. Can't you write for Tan to come and see you 
before you leave ? As anxious as I shall be for your return, let me 
implore you not to come home without calling to see sister Mary, 
if you should lose a fortnight's time by it : also go to Columbia. 

We are getting on first-rate. The musical little " Nightingale " 
is the only one here that don't miss you. "Willie is a little sick. 
It's his teeth ; nothing more. The rest of us well, but, my dear 
Theresa, I am in the greatest state of alarm about our dear good 
friend. Mrs. Doremus. I have been wretchedly unhappy about her 
all day. She is very ill, but, as sick as she was, she allowed me to 
go to her room at 10 o'clock last evening to report to her the good 
success of my mission before the grave and reverend seigniors of the 
State Senate. She was too ill to see me to-day. I have been down 
twice to ask after her. Mrs. Codwise saw her yesterday. Ah! two 
such children of God can afford to talk calmly of death and a glori- 
ous eternity, as they did. Their lamps are all trimmed, aud so 
should ours be. 

How happy should we feel in the friendship of two such good 

If I don't have time to write to-morrow (and I hardly think I 
shall), Mary will write to let you know about Mrs. Doremus. 

Its late, and I must close. Eem'ember me very kindly to all 

aids. "With love to ma and the children, believe me. my dear 
irife, ever ycur devoted husband, J. Maeiox Sims. 

Mrs. Eliza Thesesa Sims. Montgomery, Alabama. 

79 Mamsox Ave>tt:, Xew York, February 98^ 1S55. 

My deae Thebesa : Mary wrote you yesterday, but I find she 
did not send her letter, which annoys me considerably, for, between 
us. you ought to have had a letter at least on alternate days. 

We are all well, literally so. not half-way so. Nightingale and 
Willie are real pictures, while Harry is a rushing reality. "We are 
getting on well and, as anxious as we may be to have you at home, 
let me entreat you not to return till you have made a visit to Aunt 
Betsey and sister Mary. This I insist on, and I wonld like it very 
much if you could make up your mind to run over to Columbia for 
a day. but this I will not insist upon. 

I have just got home from a tour of observation and civil engi- 


neering. Have made visits to-night to Governor Raymond, Mr. Ben- 
edict, Dr. AVilkes, Dr. Francis, Dr. Mott and Dr. Hosack, and with 
the four tirst named have been maturing our plans of operation. It 
seems that Providence has given power over the very men that are 
absolutely indispensible to the success of our great scheme. 

I have a part for each to act, and no one of the mighty combi- 
nation could well be substituted for the other. Benedict is wiser 
than all. 

I can hardly, my dear wife, realize the truth of the great drama 
that is now being enacted. "Why we should have been translated 
from our happy Southern home and warm-hearted friends and 
placed here under the circumstances now surrounding us is truly 

Let us bow with humility to the will of Him who in His wis- 
dom has ordered all this, and as you used to say "for the best," 
even when it seemed to my dull vision to be for the worst. Do you 
still think it was for the best? Ah, it is best for us individually, 
only if it humbles us. 

It is late and I must stop. Do you ever see aunty ? If so, re- 
member me most affectionately to her. Also to other friends. 

Love to ma and the children, and believe me ever your devoted 

J. Maeion Sims. 

Mrs. Eliza Theresa Sims, Montgomery, Alabama. 

Letters written on Ms First Trip to Europe. 
Queen's Hotel, Aberdeen, Scotland, Saturday, August 10, 1861. 
Look at the map, my dear wife and children, and you will see 
that I am above the 57th degree of latitude, in a most delightful 
country and fine climate, except that it rains too much. This has 
been one of the most profitable days I have spent since I left home, 
and I would be amply repaid for my trip, were I now to return 
without going further or seeing more. You know how I have 
fretted and worried about not getting the hospital up long ago. If 
I had succeeded as I desired, the whole structure would have been 
wrong in principle, and ruinous in its practical workings. Now I 
shall return with enlarged views of hospital hygiene and hospital 
structure, and I can not but congratulate myself on what I supposed 


to be very hard luck. Truly a good Providence overrules all our 
actions, whether we will or not. 

When I left Edinboro yesterday, I asked Professor Syme for a 
letter to Professor Pirrie here, and he said: " No." For a moment 
I was startled, but he finished the sentence by saying: "It's en- 
tirely unnecessary, for the man in this kingdom who don't know 
you on presenting your card, and who won't be glad to see you, is not 
worth your seeing;" and sure enough, when I got here, the splendid 
Dr. Pirrie gave me the heartiest sort of a welcome, and said imme- 
diately: "You'll dine with me at five to-day," and of course I said 
yes. At ten o'clock went to the Royal Infirmary (which means 
a hospital with three hundred beds), where I saw Professor Keith 
perform a half dozen surgical operations, as I have seldom ever seen 
equaled anywhere. After this he showed me the hospital, and 
expatiated largely on its unfitness for its purposes, pointing out 
defects, suggesting remedies for them, etc., etc., all of which will 
be exceedingly valuable in constructing our hospital. I leave here 
to-morrow (Sunday) for Dundee, where there is a very fine new 
hospital, which I am told has defects that I must avoid. 

Dr. Simpson asked me to operate on a case or two when I return 
to Edinboro. I shall then go to Glasgow, and return to my precious 
Dublin for a few days, where I have to perform several operations. 
I forgot to tell you in any of my former letters that Dr. Denham, 
a distinguished Dublin man, took me to see a lady requiring my 
opinion, and when I shook hands and said good-by she slyly let drop 
a guinea into my palm. I said, " Oh no, madam, I can't take your 
money. I do this for my friend, the doctor." The doctor imme- 
diately said, " You must take it." I still declined. The lady looked 
confused and surprised. The doctor whispered in my ear, " You 
must take it, she will be greatly mortified to receive your valuable 
opinion gratuitously." So I took it. I thought it very funny, and 
wished it was the habit at home to get a guinea slipped into a fel- 
low's hand every time he deserved it. 

The doctors here keep no books, patients pay at every visit, and 
always pay a guinea ($5). I saw the great oculist and aurist, Mr. 
Wilde, haul out of his pocket, the day before I left Dublin, a great 
handful of one-pound notes which he had received during the day. 
All the doctors I have met as yet are well to do, live in the very 
best style, and many of them are very rich ; but, if I write more in 


this vein, yon may fear that there is danger of my setting my face 
toward the service of Mammon. Not wishing to distress you in the 
least, I shall change the subject. 

Sunday ', August 11. 

I fully intended to leave here to-day on the 12.23 train, the 
only one on Sunday. I wrote some letters to Dublin during the 
morning and went out at eleven to mail them. When I got into the 
street (Union Street), which is the Broadway of Aberdeen, it was 
crowded for nearly a mile (its whole length) with well-dressed 
church-going people. After depositing my letters in the post-office, 
having au hour to spare, I concluded to follow the crowd to a church 
I had visited yesterday. A very young man (just twenty-five) was 
occupying the pulpit. I surveyed the church and the people, and 
concluded to stay twenty minutes. They were singing when I en- 
tered ; the sexton offered me a seat, which I refused, preferring to 
stand in the aisle just at the entrance. A placard hung by the door 
which I would like to see in all churches, because it assures a stran- 
ger a polite welcome, viz. : " Strangers will please apply to the pew- 
openers, who will furnish seats as soon as the service begins." On 
the walls and pillars, in various conspicuous parts of the church, were 
hung black-boards, about twelve by fourteen or fifteen inches, 
marked as in this diagram, so that the congregation could see the 
psalms to be sung. Of course there 
was no organ, nor instrumental music 
of any kind, and the choir, instead of 
being placed away off in a gallery, 
was at the foot of the pulpit, a very 
appropriate location. 

They were singing (as I said) the 
xxxiv Psalm when I entered, then 
came the long prayer and reading 
from the Scriptures, in which I 

found myself interested. The preacher was a good and emphatic 
reader. I liked him. He was just the size of and the very 
picture of Uncle Jo Kyle ; then was sung the xxxix Psalm, very 
and excessively dolorous. I looked at my watch, thought I must 
go. Then came the reading of the 3d chapter of St. James, which 
was the text dwelling upon the evils produced by the tongue: 














44 The tongue, no man can tame." The eloquence of the man 
chained me to the spot where I stood. I looked at my watch 
again, said to myself, "I'll stay ten minutes longer, then I will have 
twenty minutes to run to the hotel, pay bill, and be off." The time 
rolled on. I looked at my watch, indeed held it in my hand, the 
hands moved on, then it lacked eighteen minutes of the time of 
starting, then fifteen minutes, and then I said why should I hurry 
away from this enchantment when there is no need of it, so I delib- 
erately resigned myself to my pleasant fate, and heard the most 
eloquent sermon I have listened to for years. I do not regret it. 
Looking at my watch I saw that the sermon was about thirty-three 
minutes long. I could have listened to the little fellow three or four 
times as long with comfort and profit. I shall go at two o'clock to 
hear the same man again. 

Sunday, 10 p. m. 

This has been the most Sahbathical Sunday I have spent for 
many months. True to the hour I was at church again, and heard 
a very fine sermon, twenty-six minutes long, from Psalm xvii, 1-ith 
verse. After church returned to the hotel, where we had a tdble- 
d'hote dinner, and, as the servant just this moment brings in my 
bill, preparatory to my leaving at five o'clock in the morning, he 
tells me a very funny thing. Six of us sat down to dinner. It ap- 
pears that the gentleman at the head is the president and master of 
ceremonies, the one at the other end is vice-president. As soon as we 
sat down (I on the president's right) he says, " Stranger, will you join 
us in a glass of wine ? " " Certainly, with pleasure," said I. Well, we 
ate away, and drank wine, and I, feeling quite unwilling to be behind 
my liberal neighbors, ordered a large bottle of champagne. They 
looked a little surprised, but drank my wine. "Well, I was very well 
satisfied. We had a splendid dinner, a good time, they pitched into 
Yankeedom generally, and I let them. Dinner over, the president 
said, " Waiter, the bill." It was brought, looked over, and passed 
round the table for each man's inspection. It amounted to the round 
sum of Ts. 6d. apiece, or $1.87£. When I got the bill I insisted 
on paying for my own bottle of wine, but they said "No." So the 
whole bill was equally divided. I didn't like much the idea of 
treating them at their own expense, and didn't know till just this 
moment that there was a joke anywhere. The waiter says : " Well, 


sir, they are having a hearty laugh down in the coffee-room at the 
way they were sold to-day." "Ah!" said I, "how is that?" 
" Why, sir, they took you to be green, and their game was to have 
a good wine bill, and make you bear your proportion of the expense, 
but when they saw that you didn't care, and ordered more expensive 
wine than any of them would, and then wanted to pay for it your- 
self, they thought it the best joke of the season and acknowledged 
themselves beat at their own game." I was very innocent in all of 
it. They told the waiter I was a regular take-in, for they thought 
I didn't know anything till they got me to talking — but enough. 
After dinner I called on Dr. Pirrie. He was out, but I had an 
hour's talk with Mrs. Pirrie. She is greatly interested in our Fulton 
Street prayer-meeting. It seems to me there is a book giving an ac- 
count of this prayer-meeting from its beginning. If there is I was 
going to say send it, but let it alone till I get home again. 

Your devoted husband, J. M. S. 

Edinboro, Tuesday, August 11. 

I left Aberdeen early yesterday morning, arriving at Dundee 
at 11. Yisited the infirmary (all hospitals here in Scotland are 
called "Eoyal Infirmaries "), saw several medical gentlemen, who 
were glad to meet me. Left at 5.40 p. m. and got here at 10. Soon 
after which young Dr. Simpson called, and we went to see an old 
lady with vesico-vaginal fistula upon whom the doctor had operated 
unsuccessfully two or three times. She weighs about three hundred 
and fifty pounds, and is not at all a good case to operate upon and 
leave in the hands of others for subsequent management. 

I telegraphed Tom to come up here to-day, and expect him this 
evening. The railroad ride from Aberdeen tired me a good deal, 
but I am getting on well. Eeceived your first letter, which cured 
me of my little feeling of home-sickness. If I can only be assured 
that you won't starve while I am away I'll take my time, and will 
not let a week or ten days stand in the way of investigations. If 
the doctors treat me half as well in London as elsewhere, I shall 
remain there at least a fortnight, which will be a week longer than 
I expected. As yet I have learned nothing from any man— I am 
sorry to say it — but I hope to get some ideas from Simpson. If I 
don't I shall be disappointed in my visit here. 

Give my love to all the children. Kindest remembrance to the 


servants, and to all friends. I don't particularize, but mean all. 
Don't worry about me. I am doing well, not fretting about any- 
thing at all. 

Your devoted husband, J. Marion Sims. 

Paris, Thursday, November 21, 1861. 
My deae Wife : I wrote you not long ago that the 18th of Octo- 
ber was one of the proudest days of my life. I have now to tell 
you a different story, for Tuesday, the 19th of November, was cer- 
tainly one of the most fearfully anxious. I operated on the Countess 
de F. Tom was not present. He had gone to Liverpool. Nelaton, 
the great Paris surgeon, Campbell, the great obstetrician, Beclard, 
the accomplished Franco- American physician, and Johnston, the 
splendid fellow and good friend I have so often mentioned before, 
and Tom's friend, Mr. Herbert, a young Englishman, were present and 
assisting. Upon Dr. Campbell was imposed the responsibility of the 
chloroforming. The operation was begun at 10 o'clock, with the 
expectation of its lasting about an hour. Everything went on well, 
and in fifty minutes it was nearly finished. There was nothing to 
do but to secure the silver sutures. Just then I noticed a very 
livid appearance of the tissues, and called Dr. Johnston's attention to 
it. I asked if all was right, was answered " Yes, go on." But 
almost immediately Dr. Campbell said " Stop a moment. Let her 
head hang down." He ordered Nelaton to support the head, and 
Johnston to raise her feet perpendicularly in the air, while he 
•supported the body and shoulders, and Beclard attended to forcing 
the respiration by pressing the thorax and abdominal walls. Young 
Herbert was sent for a spoon, with the handle of which her locked 
jaws were forced asunder, and JSTelaton called for forceps to pull the 
tongue from the top of the wind-pipe. A tenaculum was handed, 
the tongue hooked up and held firmly. And I, imagine poor me, 
standing like a very statue of sadness and sorrow, calling out 
mechanically every now and then, " My dear Dr. Campbell, is there 
any hope of saving her? " She was to all intents and purposes 
dead. They held her in this inverted position for twenty minutes, 
trying to force the respiratory function. It appeared to me to be 
useless. At last she breathed, and breathed again. It was very 
poor breathing, but better than none at all. The doctor said : 
" Don't be alarmed, she will recover." After a while they laid her 


on the table in the recumbent posture. But soon, almost immedi- 
ately, the breathing ceased again, and the pulse stopped too, as it 
had done before. Again they quickly inverted the body, and again 
long, painful, protracted and anxious efforts for resuscitation were 
repeated as before — but now she seemed more dead than before, 
aud 1" thought spontaneous respiration would never again return ; 
but, thanks to the brave men who had her in charge, for they never 
ceased their efforts, and after a seeming very long time, they were 
repaid by feeble signs of returning life. Kespiration had some 
regularity, the pulse became countable, though very weak and some- 
times suspended. My heart began to pour forth involuntary thanks 
to God for her recovery. They laid her upon the table again, say- 
ing, " It will all be right now." But in a few seconds the respira- 
tion ceased a third time, her pulse was gone, and she looked the 
perfect picture of death. Then I gave up all as lost. But Camp- 
bell and Nelaton, B6clard and Johnston, by a consentaneous effort, 
quickly inverted the body again, thus throwing all the blood it con- 
tained to the brain, and again began their heroic efforts at artificial 
respiration. It seemed to me she would never breathe again, but at 
last there was a spontaneous spasmodic inspiration, and after a while 
another, and by-and-by there was a third. They were very " far 
between." I thought there would never be a fourth one, but there 
was, and then there was a long yawn or gaping. Dr. Beclard said : 
" Her pulse comes again, but it is very feeble." Nelaton ejaculated : 
" The color of the tongue and lips is getting more natural in appear- 
ance." Campbell said: "The vomiting is favorable, and see, she 
moves her hands, she is pushing against me." But I was by no 
means sure that these symptoms were not merely signs of the last 
death struggle. She was still in the inverted position, with the jaws 
pried open and the tongue held out with the tenaculum. Presently 
Johnston said : " See here, doctor, she is safe now, see how she 
kicks." Feeling somewhat assured, I said : " Let her kick. I want 
her ' to be alive and kicking.' " Soon they all said : " Oh, she is safe 
now." I replied : " For God's sake keep her safe then. Don't put 
her upon the table again till she is conscious." They held her then till 
she kicked in good earnest. I have heard of ladies " kicking," and 
once as you know, my dear wife, I had a little experience of it, but 
the most interesting feat in that way that I have ever known was this 
by my dear dying-dead, but now living, little Countess de F. The 


operation was finished. It was one of the most difficult I ever exe- 
cuted, and certainly the most difficult, take it all in all, that I ever 
performed on any one in the upper walks of life. Of course, it is 
needless to say, it was completed without further recourse to the 
use of chloroform. Dr. Emmet always gives me great credit for 
foresight, skill, etc., but he says, added to this I am the luckiest man 
in the world. He will see that my luck did not desert me in this 
case, but it was luck based on the intelligence, kindness, coolness 
courage, judgment and perseverance of four of the bravest men I 
ever saw. It seems to me now that she could hardly have been saved 
in any other way, and it would be difficult to get together four other 
men as competent to the task. Campbell and N&aton were the 
responsible men, but if she had died the whole blame would have 
fallen upon your poor husband. To them is due the credit of saving 
her, and to them let the credit be given. But let us not forget to 
thank God for her restoration, and to bless Him for this great de- 

I have given you the facts. I can not and will not try to tell you 
the heart-rending agony through which I passed during the nearly 
two hours of anxious, persevering effort for her resuscitation. But 
the best part of the story is to be told. Although it has been but 
forty-eight hours since the operation, I am able to pronounce the 
verdict of a perfect cure. 

To-day I told her that hereafter, whenever I am asked how 
many children I have, I will not make my usual stereotyped answer 
"Nine," but will say " Ten," for she seems almost like one of ours, 
and I tell her she shall be next to my own dear little Florrie. If 
you could only see her, you could not help loving her. She is now 
bright and cheerful, and hopeful and happy, thankful and joyous. 
As she lies in bed her happiness i3 manifest to all. She warbles as 
innocently as a little bird. She sings out and reminds me so much 
of our own Mary. Tom thinks her very much like Mary. And 
now, my dear wife, having unburdened my heart to you, let us not 
cease to thank our Heavenly Father that He blessed the means for 
her recovery, and saved your husband from murdering her or being 
accessory to her death. Tell Emmet I am done with chloroform, 
will never again operate on any patient under its influence, and be- 
lieve it ought to be banished from ordinary or general use. It is 
too dangerous. No one was to blame yesterday. It was given with 


caution and care, but the blood evidently became chemically changed 
by it and unfit for the circulation. It was one of those unfortunate 
occurrences that may happen at any time, and have happened hun- 
dreds of times, with chloroform, but never to my knowledge witli 
ether. With these facts, were I again to use this dangerous agent, 
and it to produce a fatal result, I could not hold myself guiltless 
morally, nor should I be in the eye of the law. My hands are then, 
henceforth, washed of chloroform and devoted to ether. 

I shall be here eight or ten days longer, and then go to London, 
where I expect a good time for ten or twelve days at least. I am 
dreadfully disappointed at not hearing from home by the last steamer. 
I ought to have received a letter to-day. Certainly looked for my 
passport ; I have a bet of a dozen cigars that I shall -get a passport. 
A good many say I won't get it, but I am sure of it ; for if they re- 
fuse such a thing to two such men as Eaymond and Benedict they 
must all be insane, and the sooner we prove it the better for the 
country. But I shall not abuse anybody yet. I will wait for 
another steamer. 

Friday, a. m. 

I have been running all day after hospital doctors and instrument 
makers, and so finish this in a hurry. I am well, first-rate, but I 
have fallen off some in spite of Jenny Emmet's views to the con- 
trary. I shall try and send my photograph next week. I need the 
lager-beer, don't like wine any better, but am obliged to take it 
with the water. 

Kiss my little ones and the larger ones, and remember me very 
kindly to my friends, who are still friends notwithstanding my po- 
litical faith, which I could not change under any circumstances, for 
I can not help being honest. 

God bless you, my dear wife. You'll hear from me again before 
I go to London. Always your devoted husband, 

J. Makion Sims. 

Paris, Friday, November 29, 1861. 
My dear "Wife : I received no letter last week, but got yours of 
the 9th November yesterday, the contents of which were truly wel- 
come. I was delighted to hear that you were all well and enjoying 
yourselves fairly. Am glad to know that Professor Bedford was 


kind to Gran ville, and prond to hear that my "boy is at work in ear- 
nest, pleased to hear that Father Connelly was on a bust, and that 
my friend Dr. Miliano called. It was be, because I went with him 
on the 3d of October to the £cole de Medicine, and there pointed out 
a statue that looked like TVillie. I hope he went again t: c : 
But with all these pleasant little things I will not pretend to hide 
my disappointment at not receiving by the mail my passport, for I 
fully expected it. and can't understand why it was not forwarded on 
the application of Mr. Eaymond and Mr. Benedict, but I shall not 
fret the least bit about it, for good will come of all this. How. I do 
not exactly see, but we will know by-and-by. 

I am happy to say my little patient the countess is beautifully 
and perfectly cured, never had a single unpleasant symptom after 
her recovery from the chloroform. I leave here on Sunday or 
Monday for London, where I hope to have a good time for ten or 
twelve days. I am pressed on all sides to stay here, but I : : 
London, and next week I hope to hear from you. I am anxious to 
go home, but a great many sensible people say I am foolish. Even 
Mrs. Murray S., who is . - ir York woman, says I ought not to 

go home till the war is over, but everything will depend on 
letter. I have such unbounded confidence in your judgment, that 
whatever you say I must do will be done. "Were it possible I 
should spend a hundred dollars in telegraphing to you, and consider 
it a good investment, bnt that is out of the question. I shall not 
speculate further, but wait the arrival of your letter. The Countess 
de G. wants me to stop in Par:?. Yesterday she received nine 1 1 
before breakfast from her relations, congratulating her, and rejoicing 
with her over the restoration of her daughter. She aaya if I will 
only stay, all her friends will be my friends, and she knows that I 
will get a plenty to do, and she says that -1. . is -are I will not de- 
sire to go home again if you were all over here, but I can't imagine 
myself becoming a permanent ;i zoulez-Tou&.^ I am quite willing to go 
it far a year, just for the sake of the children. It will be capital in- 
i for them, and the publication of my works here and in Eng- 
land would be worth the time, which would not be lost — but here I 
am again speculating before the arrival of your doubtful letter. 

I have been at St. Germain now since the 10th. Altogether, here 
and at the Chateau de Granery, I have been the guest of the count- 
ess four weeks, and it is the pleasantest time I have had since I left 


my happy home. I am quite domesticated and hate to leave. 
Whenever a countess or other dignitary calls, Madame la Comtesse 
says, " Come, doctor, you must put on the dignity now." Of course, 
I get immediately as stiff as possible, and look as grave as a Presby- 
terian preacher just about to say, " Let us pray." All of which 
tickles my little patient very much, but she soons calls out, "Now, 
doctor, that's too tiresome, please be yourself again." Last evening 
the abbe, I mean the priest, came in, and madame sent word in to 
Leontine that she would bring him into her room, and she expected 
her and the doctor to be very dignified. So I put myself in atti- 
tude, the old fellow was ushered in, introduced, and we bent our 
bodies at each other, but he staid too long for me, as we had 
to dine together, and then sit for an hour afterward. * He came to 
inquire for the success of the operation, and appointed a day next 
week for a great mass in the little chapel for her happy recovery. 
They are all very good Catholics and go to church daily. Yesterday 
morning I removed the last of the sutures from my patient. "Was 
on the eve of going to the city, had been in my room some fifteen 
or twenty minutes looking over some instruments, etc., and just as 
I was about going out I saw a box setting on a little table by the 
door of exit (I had entered by a different one). On the box was a 
bit of paper with the words : " From the. most grateful of mothers 
to the kindest of doctors." I had some curiosity to look into it. 
It is the most beautiful dressing-case I ever saw. I haven't time to 
describe it, but you'll see it. It is too fine for use, and I expect it 
to descend down in the family. Therefore it is a thing to will. 
Besides the many beautiful and.useful things in it, there was a large 
roll of yellow paper which I took to the city. Mr. Monroe told me 
that there were several thousand francs' worth, and as an earnest 
I send you a portion of it in plain English. The others were of 
course in French. 

The foregoing was written at St. Germain, and I expected to 
finish it in Paris. But the day is so dark that I can scarcely see how 
to get on without gas-light. It is a London day. 

There is great excitement among Americans here on the sub- 
ject ot the SHdell and Mason arrest. If there is to be war between 
Great Britain and the United States I must make a straight shoot 
for home, Fort Lafayette or no Fort Lafayette. 

By the time this reaches you I hope all will be right with Mary. 


Kiss her and all the dear children for me. How I would like to be 
bb you. Kind remenibran : e to Emmet and all other Mends. 
Id haste. Your devoted husband, 

J. Ma bios" Snis. 

The day w e : ^ebrate. Americans love it as their natal day, and 
the free world admires it as the birthday of a nation of freemen. 

Response to Toast on hoard Steamer Atlantic. 

Ox Board Steamer Atlaxtic, July J. 1871. > 
Bvundfor Europe. 

\i:. ~_ hate .:;_:". Ladies a2td Gestlemes : I fear your committee 
[ein lelegating ::> rue the honor of speaking to 
this patriotic sentiment. Not that I yield to any of yon in my love 
of country, but that, like my brothers of the army and nary, I 
and my brethren of the medical profession are little given to ape : : h- 

This day reminds me that nations are but masses of individuals, 
that individuals, as a rule, know their birth-day, anticipate its anni- 
versary with pleasure, and celebrate it with joy and gratitude. This 
privilege, so precious to us individually, is not often vouchsafed to 
nations. Even our beloved motherland. Great Britain, the strong- 
hold of civil liberty, can not tell the fhne :.: which she reached its 
full fruition. "SVith her it was gradual, the growth of generations, 
yea, of centuries. But with us it is otherwise, for we know not 
only the year, the month, the day. but the very hour in which we 
sprang from a tottering state of de :i leu :e and thraldom into one of 
independence and liberty. 

John Adams said at the time, that this day would ever be. hal- 
lowed by Americans, and that they would celebrate its annual re- 
turn with speeches, and bonfires, and all manner of rejoicings. And 
ac if has been, and so it shall be, as long as our country claims to be 
the land of liberty. It was said this morning, by my friend Mr. 
Train, the eloquent orator of the day, that the fourth of July was 
annulled by the bombardment of Fort Sumter. Sir, the thunders 
of Fort Sumter were but the premonitory throes of a labor that 
ended in the new birth of one of the mightiest nations of the earth, 
for we can now truly say tl if — e have been born again. If you 
applaud so vociferously this sentiment from a citizen of Xew York, 


let me tell you that it is from the heart of a red southerner, for I 
was born in South Carolina, was wholly educated there, and lived 
there till I was a full-grown man ; that I was contemporary with 
Davis, and Stevens, and Toombs ; that my political teachers were 
Thomas Cooper and Turnbull, Mr. Duffie and the immortal Calhoun; 
that I was for many years an intimate personal as well as political 
friend of Yancey ; that in later years I was in the kindest and most 
sympathetic relations w r ith Mason and Slidell ; and that I sympathized 
heart and soul with the South in what you miscall a rebellion. 

With this record, if I can hail and celebrate this day, as every 
American should, who here shall dare repudiate it ? Rebellion, did 
I just now say ? Why, sir, this term as applied to our late struggle 
is false. Our civil war was a real war between what had been sov- 
ereign and independent States ; a war of principles and a war 
between political equals. From the very foundation of our Govern- 
ment, from the days of Jefferson, and Madison, and Hamilton, and 
Jay, we had incorporated into our Constitution two great antago- 
nistic principles that have been continually threatening our exist- 
ence as a nation. These principles have been variously interpreted 
by parties — on the one side representing the rights of the States, 
and jealous of the powers delegated by these to the Federal Gov- 
ernment, and on the other by a party advocating a strong central 
Government, and ever ready to encroach upon the rights reserved 
to the States. These principles, thus underlying all parties, by what- 
ever name called, have been at unceasing war ever since the adop- 
tion of our Constitution. "We fought them out on the tariff ; we 
fought them out on the bank question ; we fought them out on in- 
ternal improvements ; we fought them out on the territorial ques- 
tions ; and on a variety of side issues. 

And in our great civil war these questions of the rights of States, 
and of the power and authority of the central Government, were 
the real questions of the day, all others being incidental and sub- 
sidiary. While they w r ere general and theoretical all was well. 
But as soon as they became sectional and practical all was lost. The 
Southern States, standing upon their reserved rights, seceded and 
formed a new federation, and thus the States under the new and the 
old federations fought out in the field the old principles so often 
contended for in the legislative halls, and we of the South were 
beaten here as we had always been before. And, strange as it may 


seem, in this great struggle for national existence, the country did 
not produce a single man, North or South, who rose to the dignity 
of true statesmanship. Not one man who grasped the whole sub- 
ject in all its bearings and issues. Why, sir, every movement at 
the North was one of temporary expediency, every step at the South 
one of utter desperation. North and South were alike blind and 
mad. Each equally sowed the wind, and each alike reaped the 
whirlwind. But God Almighty rode in the tempest and directed 
the storm, and its result was according to His will. The questions 
at issue were too mighty for the puny intellect, but He in His wis- 
dom decided and overruled all, and they were settled in a way not 
foreseen by any. And now, sir, under these circumstances, what is 
our duty to ourselves and to our country ? We now have a Gov- 
ernment that is no longer a rope of sand, one that is felt to be a 
real power, not only at home, but a leading power among the na- 
tions of the earth. I am proud of my country abroad, but ashamed 
of it at home. The humiliation of the South is inexcusable. Its 
ruin is unjustifiable. But, notwithstanding all this, when I calmly 
survey the past, when I closely inspect the present, and when I 
look into the depths of the future, I must in all sincerity say that I 
now think the worst thing that could have happened for the coun- 
try at large would have been the success of the cause to which my 
heart and soul were honestly and earnestly given, and conversely, 
that the best thing that could have happened under the circum- 
stances for the cause of civil liberty, not only in our own country, 
but throughout the civilized world, was the success of the principles 
based upon a strong central Government. 

Sir, we of the South are a congenial people. Have you of the 
North been magnanimous or generous to a fallen foe? to a prostrate 
brother ? No, sir, you have ruled us with a tyrant power. You 
have been merciless and vindictive. You have forced upon us con- 
ditions humiliating to our pride and subversive of our rights. You 
have confiscated our property and disfranchised our best citizens. 
You have robbed us of civil liberty, and degraded us politically be- 
low the level of the meanest slave that ever wore a shackle. But, if 
I reproach you with injustice, and injury, and wrong-doing, don't 
for a moment suppose that I justify the South in the course she has 
pursued since the war. In her it is folly to talk of the lost cause. 
It is puerile to sulk and to play the part of abstention. Let her citi- 


zens now show to the world that they are men, that they can under- 
stand the great problems now before them, that they can rise and 
prove themselves equal to the emergencies of the times. Let them, 
like sensible, practical, honest men, accept the issues of the war, the 
fifteenth amendment and all. Then we shall have universal amnesty, 
and equal rights under the Constitution, not as it was but as it is. 

Colonel George Francis Train and others got up a Fourth of July 
celebration on the steamer Atlantic, White Star Line, 1871, when a 
few days out from New York for Liverpool. I responded to the 
toast, "The day we celebrate," etc., and was requested to write 
out my remarks, which I did the following day. J. M. S. 


Hall of the Medical Society op South Carolina, ) 
Charleston, S. C, December 19, 1883. f 

At an extra meeting of the Medical Society of South Carolina, 
the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted : 

At the announcement, some weeks since, of the sudden demise 
of Dr. James Marion Sims, the hearts of the people of this, his na- 
tive State, and of his professional brethren at large, went out in ten- 
der sympathy and in gushing grief. 

This national bereavement assembles us this morning, while 
women everywhere weep in grateful remembrance over his bier, to 
pay the customary tribute, with more than ordinary impressive- 
ness, to the memory of our illustrious great! Our great, we call 
him, since he stands pre-eminent above all her sons in the sacred 
domain of his professional usefulness and humanity, and because, 
through his fame, he has bequeathed a bountiful legacy to which we, 
more particularly, exultingly lay claim. 

Before a strictly professional audience, like the present, there is 
no necessity to rehearse those triumphs of genius and of skill which 
have for many years pointed to J. Marion Sims in the world's esti- 
mation as to the father of Gynaecology, and could have secured for 
him such munificent rewards as to have constituted a princely for- 
tune, had he claimed for himself alone any one of his many ingen- 
iously invented appliances, instead of delegating them, with generous 
liberality, to suffering humanity ; for in this special department his 
stream of mind and invention seemed perpetual. 

But, alas ! is it not always so where genius finds itself affiliated 
with a great mission ? 

Does not everything become subservient to the full fruition of 
our plans ? Do not all things subscribe to life's grand consummation ? 
In the great unrest of active discovery and invention there is no af- 


fluence of time to be devoted to the search after or accumulation of 

How often do we find this the case among original geniuses in 
the varied departments within the commonwealth of knowledge? 

"We are told that Farraday's income, from commercial analyses 
and other sources, at one time amounted to more than £1,000, when 
Science, that harsh mistress, seduced him, as her child, from the ac- 
quisition of fortune, by revealing new secrets from Nature's manu- 
scripts day by day, until his professional receipts fell to less than 
£150, and left him at last relatively poor. 

When the French Commissioner from Europe urged Agassiz 
somewhat importunately, while the latter was engaged with his 
heaviest work in Cambridge, to accept the proposals of Napoleon, 
with their imperial inducements, as the means then offered him of 
amassing wealth, his memorable reply was: "I find in America a 
wide field of discovery before me ; you must say to the Emperor 
that I have no time left me to make money." Indeed, Marion Sims's 
absorbing thought was to devise hitherto unrevealed methods pe- 
culiarly his own, and new instruments for securing the most perma- 
nent recoveries. 

In the accomplishment of these great ends he continued to daz- 
zle the professional mind throughout his remarkable career. It is 
not too much to affirm, as we well know, that the benefit our de- 
parted colleague conferred upon the suppliant female patient every- 
where has for all future time thrown open the doors of organized 
" Hospitals for the Incurable," wherever these may have been estab- 
lished, and has said to suffering woman, in all humility and in the 
language of the Great Physician : " Take up thy bed and walk." 
But, when the wonderful results of this life mission are consorted 
with the unaffected simplicity and affectionate impulses of his genial 
nature, we realize the influence he possessed for good, and the emi- 
nence to which he so rapidly attained. 

But, alas! this much beloved and eminent colleague and friend, 
whose death convenes the present assembly, has terminated his use- 
ful, distinguished, and brilliant career. 

Pipe in years, and decorated with honors which an appreciative 
and admiring profession extended him, he has passed away from 
those who loved him, and has left scattered over his entire country 
friends, admirers and competitors, who for nearly half a century 


have been guided by his counsels, influenced by his example, and in- 
structed by his doctrinal teachings. 

It is when Death, Life's triumphant hero, has robbed us of the 
good and the great, that we realize the magnitude of our loss, and 
the void which can not be readily filled. 

When we recall the excellences of his character and the evi- 
dences of his genius, how irretrievably sad will be his absence from 
among us. 

In accordance, therefore, with the object of this meeting, we 
present the following resolutions : 

Resolved, That, in the death of Dr. J. Marion Sims, we, his profes- 
sional brethren, lament the loss of an affectionate colleague and a 
most able and ever-willing counselor. 

Resolved, That in recognition of his important disclosures in cer- 
tain departments of our science, and in the impulse he has given to 
its electrical advancement, the people at large mourn the death of a 
most distinguished citizen. 

Resolved, That, in view of the world-wide reputation of the de- 
ceased, which virtually constitutes him an honorary member of 
every American medical organization, a blank page, with its cus- 
tomary badge of mourning, be inscribed to his memory in the rec- 
ords of our society. 

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be transmitted to the 
members of his family. 

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be published in 
the "News" and " Courier. " 

From the minutes. 

(Attested,) P. Gottedin De Sattssuee, Secretary. 


Tribute to the late James Marion Sims, M. D., LL. D., by W. O. 
Baldwin, M. D., of Montgomery, Alabama, November, 1883. 

The following tribute to the memory of the eminent surgeon and 
physician, the late Dr. J. Marion Sims, who recently died in the 
city of New York, was spoken at a Memorial Meeting of the Medi- 
cal and Surgical Society of Montgomery, and by that body ordered 
to be published in the " Montgomery Advertiser." It was after- 
ward reprinted in " Gaillard's Medical Journal," January, 1884. 
At the request of some of the friends and admirers of Dr. Sims it is 
now published in pamphlet form, with a few additional facts and 
reflections by the author ; who desires to say that, while some of 
the prominent facts and incidents in the life of this great man have 
been briefly glanced at, others of almost equal importance have not 
been noticed at all. All of these, when collected and fully detailed, 
will form a large volume of the deepest interest. "W. O. B. 

Sketches and Reminiscences of the Life of Br. J. Marion Sims, as given 
at the late Memorial Meeting of the Medical and Surgical 
Society of Montgomery, by W. 0. Baldwin, M. B., of Mont- 
gomery, Alabama. 

After the introduction of appropriate preamble and resolutions, 
with addresses from other gentlemen, Dr. W. O. Baldwin said : 

Mr. President and Gentlemen : In my somewhat lengthened 
life it has often been my lot to mourn the death of loved friends and 
associates, and to feel those bitter heartaches which spring from lost 
companionship and cherished affections. One by one, I have seen 
many such whose lives had become a prominent part of my pleas- 
ures here pass to the spirit land ; but seldom in all my life has my 
heart been so filled with gloom as since the morning when the wires 

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lie remained about two years, during which time he returned to Lan- 
caster (in 1836) and married Miss Eliza Theresa Jones, who still sur- 
vives him. Returning to Mount Meigs with his wife, and remaining 
a year longer, he removed to Macon county in 1837, and settled in 
a neighborhood near Cubahatchee Creek, and not far from a little 
place called Cross Keys. From this place he came to Montgomery 
in 1840, bringing with him his little family — consisting of, I think, 
his wife and two little girls. It was at this juncture of his life that 
I first knew Dr. Sims. He was about six years my senior, yet we 
soon became intimate friends, I suppose partly from the fact that I 
was nearer his age than any of the other physicians of the place, and 
the additional fact that neither of us was overwhelmed with busi- 
ness, and had plenty of leisure to cultivate each other's society. I 
thought he was the most winning and captivating man I had ever 
met, and I soon learned to love him as I did my own brother. Meet- 
ing a reciprocal feeling of attachment on his part, our intercourse 
soon ripened into confidential relations, which were not disturbed 
during his residence in this place. 

"When Dr. Sims located in Montgomery, he had scarcely any in- 
come except from his profession, and, that being quite limited for 
the first year, he was sorely troubled, for a time, to meet his cur- 
rent expenses. 

But his was not a nature to be long discouraged. He was all 
zeal, energy, and pluck. Within a few months after he located 
here, the operations for club-foot and cross-eyes, the latter of which 
had but recently been devised by Deiffenbach, in 1839, and practiced 
successfully by him, were creating quite a sensation in Columbia, 
South Carolina. Dr. Toland, then of that city, and now of San 
Francisco, had but recently returned from Paris, and was making 
quite a reputation as a surgeon by performing these operations in 
Columbia. I heard Dr. Sims read from a newspaper, published in 
that city in 1841, the first accounts he had ever seen of the opera- 
tion for cross-eyes, commenting most favorably upon Dr. Toland's 
success. This, I believe, was the starting-point of the great success 
of Dr. Toland as a surgeon. 

Dr. Sims immediately procured for himself a neat case of eye in- 
struments, and was not long in finding cases of each of these un- 
seemly deformities upon which to try his skill. 

I was present at his first operation for each. They were attended 


with beautiful success, and being novel were much talked about. 
He was, even at that day, a remarkably neat operator, and I think 
handled the knife with more grace and skill than any man I have 
ever known of his age. His first successes brought him other cases, 
until within one or two years he had about finished up and straight- 
ened all the cross-eyes and club-feet within forty or fifty miles of 
Montgomery. This proved to be his stepping- stone to general sur- 
gery, and within a few years more he had the largest surgical prac- 
tice in the State, excepting, perhaps, that of Dr. J. C. Knott, of 
Mobile. He was a bold, fearless, and dashing operator, and would 
undertake almost any case tbat another surgeon dare encounter. 

At this day we had no such thing as specialties in this part of 
the country, and a man who could operate for cross-eyes would be 
trusted to operate in the most formidable surgical diseases, and was 
also considered a good physician in all the various departments of 
medicine. So that his surgical reputation in turn brought him into 
general practice, and very soon he had the largest family practice 
that had ever been done in this place by any physician up to that 
time. His services were sought by all classes of people, and in all 
kinds of cases. He was frequently, though still a very young man, 
called into consultation with the oldest and most experienced phy- 
sicians of the place, men who had long been established in practice. 
He was immensely popular, and greatly beloved, so that he was a 
formidable rival to the best established physicians, and with all 
these facts it would not be greatly surprising if he did not always 
escape criticism. But, when such things were carried to his ears, 
they never made the slightest difference in his feelings or his deport- 
ment toward the authors of them, but he would meet and pass them 
with the same kind word and pleasant smile which were always his 

"When Dr. Sims came to Montgomery we had no medical society 
for the report of cases and the discussion of medical subjects. Very 
soon after he located here he took an active part in the formation 
of the old medical society, and was from that time one of the lead- 
ing members in its affairs, and much of the esprit du corps which 
has since distinguished the physicians of the place was due to his 
example and influence. 

While he lived here he performed almost all the important sur- 
gical operations known to the science at that day. He was from 


the first a hard student, and thoroughly methodical in keeping notes, 
records, and histories of his cases, in reading medical journals, and 
in keeping up with the medical literature of his day. 

After the first year of his residence here, he kept a private hos- 
pital, in which to care for his surgical cases. This, after he first 
became interested in his speculum, and in uterine surgery, he de- 
voted exclusively to females, and especially to such cases in uterine 
surgery as were calculated to test the value of his speculum, in which 
he was already deeply interested. 

I do not remember the precise year, but it was after he had 
acquired his great local reputation as a surgeon, that he became 
earnestly engaged in working out what was at first known as his 
duck-bill speculum, the vaginal speculum, which now bears his 
name, and which was the foundation of the brilliant reputation 
which he subsequently achieved. He interested his medical friends 
in the country in hunting up for him difficult cases of uterine dis- 
eases which had resisted treatment in the hands of other physicians, 
and he was delighted when among these he could find a case of 
vesico-vaginal fistula, that loathsome disease of woman, which had 
previously been regarded as the opprobrium of surgery, and which 
physicians rather shunned than courted. He became enthusiastic 
in this, as he was in all his pursuits, and was not slow in finding 
cases of this disgusting disease, particularly among the slave popu- 
lation, whose management in accouchement was generally confined 
to the ignorant midwives of their own color. His efforts promised 
success from the start, sufficient to encourage him to continue his 
labors. Failures did not dishearten or repulse him, but he worked 
on and on, sometimes performing dozens of operations on the same 
case, until final success was achieved. During all this time he was 
devising methods and plans for procedure in his operations, and was 
inventing instruments and appliances as collateral aids to his specu- 
lum. Of all his labors, trials, and achievements in this direction, 
I think he has somewhere published a statement— probably in the 
"American Journal of Medical Sciences," or it may be found, per- 
haps, in his book entitled "Notes on Uterine Surgery," which I 
have not looked at lately. 

If my memory serves me correctly this brings us to about the 
year 1850, when, in the midst of his investigations, his health failed 
him, and he gave up much of his time to visiting different health 


resorts in order to regain it. This was a serious drawback to Mm, 
and came near ending his life. Having no regular or fixed income, 
and receiving now but little from Ms professional services, his finan- 
cial affairs suffered greatly, and he again became hard pressed for 
ready means to support his family, which had grown to be larger 
and much more expensive than when he came to Montgomery. 

About the year 1851 or 1852, I think it was, he began to enter- 
tain the thought of leaving Montgomery. The plea which he gave 
for wishing to remove to New York was that he believed this cli- 
mate was unsuited to his health, but it is also probable that his de- 
sire to find a larger field in which to display his discoveries in that 
department of surgery to which he had lately been devoting his 
time had much to do with his desire to change. 

From the time he reached New York to make it his home (1 
think in 1853), most of you are probably as familiar with his move- 
ments as I am, and I shall not attempt any further connected ac- 
count of him. 

I will say, however, after further and fully demonstrating the 
value of his speculum and various other instruments and devices 
used in his operations, and displaying his own superior skill in the 
use of them, he devoted himself to the thought and purpose of 
founding, through his exertions, a great charity, in that large me- 
tropolis, for the treatment of the diseases peculiar to women. You 
all know of his labors in that direction, for they are now a matter 
of history. You all know how faithfully he labored with some of 
the great and benevolent of his own profession, and how he be- 
sought and obtained their aid ; how he appealed to the hearts and 
enlisted the help of the influential, the opulent, and the philan- 
thropic ; how he visited and obtained from the Legislature of the 
State a donation of fifty thousand dollars; how he besought the 
city fathers for municipal aid, and procured through them a grant of 
land from the city which constitutes the site on which the hospital 
now stands ; how he, with ceaseless and tireless energy, worked and 
planned, with a devotion and singleness of purpose rarely met with, 
until the Woman's Hospital was an accomplished fact. This act of 
his alone shows what a magnetic power he must have possessed. 
How he, a stranger, he who had scarcely emerged from the ob- 
scurity of a country life and himself in poverty, could so move the 
hearts of the people of a great city suoh as New York, and make 


himself the first and final cause of a great enterprise which, like the 
"Woman's Hospital, should be a blessing to his race, proves how 
earnestly and untiringly he must have exerted his powers of persua- 
sion over the minds of men. His efforts in the scheme of establish- 
ing this hospital, strange to say, were not always without opposition 
from quarters where it should have been least expected. And yet 
this opposition probably aided him in his work, and was one of his 
credentials to genius and goodness. True men often owe no little 
of their power and success to the hostility, jealousy, and littleness 
of others. He was not only a man of genius, but he was a lovable 
man, full of personal magnetism, full of kind and tender instincts, 
alive to the romance that redeems life from commonplace and 
routine, and abounding in those high impulses which make their 
subjects benefactors because they are enthusiasts in the pursuit of 
truth. No man could be an hour with him and not feel the sim- 
plicity and fervor of his nature, the straightforwardness of purpose 
and intent which went into all his intercourse with others, and the 
absorption of his whole being in the work he had set himself to ac- 

Dr. Sims's health was never robust, and yet he could endure an 
amount of prolonged physical exertion which was remarkable for 
one of his apparently delicate physique. He had lived beyond the 
age of three score and ten, and yet his death was a great surprise 
to those of us who knew something of the elasticity of his constitu- 
tion and the great care he always took of his health. I have seen 
much of him within the last fifteen years; I have been with him 
often in New York, and have met him at various other places, and 
twice during that time he has paid long visits to Montgomery. I 
was led to believe that he would probably reach fourscore and ten, 
so perfect seemed his physical and mental preservation. When I 
saw him last he looked as if he had not more than reached the me- 
ridian of life, and he told me he thought he would live to be ninety 
— though at that time he had no idea of any organic trouble about 
his heart. Only a few days before his death I received two letters 
from him, written on two consecutive days, in which he says: 
" You can't imagine how disappointed I am that I could not make 
you all a visit this fall. But if I live another year you may count 
on seeing me in Montgomery. But for that dreadful pneumonia, I 
would certainly have lived to be ninety. But my heart gives me so 


much trouble that I have given up the idea of longevity ; still I hope 
to hold on a while longer." "While he was in Eome last, in one of 
my letters to him, I begged him to stop his wandering, cosmopolitan 
life, and settle down in ISTew York, and die there when it should 
please Heaven to end his days. In his reply, under date of Rome, 
January 14, 1883, he says: "I spend most of my time in Europe, 
because my life is more pleasant here; my fees are much larger, I 
make more money, my work is lighter, and I have more leisure." 
And in the last of the two letters referred to above he again refers 
to the same subject, and says : " I can not follow your advice and 
settle in New York. I could not possibly do the work here. I 
must go, and will sail on Thursday, the 8th, on the Celtic. I shall 
remain about three weeks in Paris, on my way to Rome." During 
the latter part of the summer my letters from him were written at 
the residence of Mr. Yulee, formerly United States Senator from 
Florida, but now living in Massachusetts. While there he was oc- 
cupied chiefly in dictating to a stenographer his autobiography. He 
sent me advance sheets as they had been printed by a type- writer. 
It consists of a brief history of his life, modestly told, interspersed 
with little anecdotes and life-stories which no one could tell so well 
as himself, if at all. It is deeply interesting, and reads like a ro- 
mance. He did not expect to complete it before he reached Europe, 
but I sincerely hope he brought it far enough up to make its com- 
pletion an easy task for one of his children. 

Dr. Sims's domestic relations were most fortunate and happy. 
The wife who survives him, and who now sits in the tearful and hope- 
less agony of her grief within the precincts of Madison Avenue, was 
the sweetheart of his boyhood. She was a loving and cheerful com- 
panion, a wise counselor, a true helpmeet ; and throughout his brill- 
iant but checkered and eventful life she shared his prosperity with 
joy and gladness, and bore his adversities with becoming patience 
and resignation ; but at all times, and under all circumstances, she 
was to him "like the ivy to the oak, which clings closest in the 
storm." It was beautiful to see him in the sanctuary of his own 
home, when surrounded by his wife and children, and to witness 
their common devotion, where, even in his advanced age, he seemed 
as the "big brother " of the family. And when in their youth, 
with but two little children hanging upon their hearts, I used to visit 
them at their modest little home in this place, they made a picture 


of sweet and confiding domestic bliss which has not, in all these 
changing years, left iny memory. At that time I had no matrimo- 
nial ties nor expectations, but their intercourse, I am sure, left a charm 
and a lesson on my heart which has not been without its pleasures, 
as well as profits. In later years he expressed to me the same chiv- 
alric and tender devotion to his old sweetheart, and assured me that 
all he was in this world was due to his fortunate selection of a wife. 

As an author Dr. Sims stood well. He was never a voluminous 
writer on any of the subjects of which he treated. His work en- 
titled " Notes on Uterine Surgery" was his largest, and was quite a 
respectable volume. It was printed in London in 1866, and was re- 
printed in several languages. It created quite a sensation, from the 
number of original, novel, and valuable lessons which it taught. It 
also met with some sharp criticisms, and, perhaps, it was not en- 
tirely free from blemishes. But, had he lived according to his ex- 
pectations, he would have corrected all these in good time, as it is 
known he was engaged in rewriting it, and had already completed 
several new chapters, and had revised others. Take it, however, as 
it stands, and with all its defects, there has been no work published 
on uterine surgery within the last century that has been as full of 
original thought and invention, or that has contributed so largely to 
the advancement of gynaecology as this book has done. I will not 
attempt to go into detail about his writings. Although I am some- 
what familiar with them all, I have no list of them with me. 
Though his contributions were not long they were not infrequent, 
and many valuable essays on different subjects were furnished by 
him to the medical press of his day. It is not the length or the 
number of the books, however, which a man may write, but it is 
the originality and the value of the material with which he fills 
them which make them desirable. His were all terse, original and 
eminently practical. His style was peculiar ; it was altogether di- 
dactic, and it was his own. 

I can not, either, undertake, in the short space of time allotted to 
occasions like this, to go into detail in enumerating the number of 
instruments which he invented, or the operations or operative pro- 
cedures which he devised or planned, but their number was immense, 
and shows how fertile of ingenuity was his brain and how busily 
and skillfully it must have worked. He does not seem to be entitled 
to priority in the discovery of metallic sutures, but he was certainly 



entitled to great credit in their revival and the vast prominence 
which he gave them. 

Dr. Sims was never connected with a medical school, but only 
because he did not desire it. There was probably no institution of 
the kind within the limits of all this country that would not most 
gladly have given him a professorship could he have been induced 
to accept it. 

Dr. Sims's clients, especially in Europe, seem to have been people 
of great wealth, and, from his acknowledged superiority in. his spe- 
cial department, he was able to command the largest fees, and yet he 
never became rich. He also had a proper appreciation of the value 
of his services, and usually demanded an adequate honorarium where 
his patient's purse could afford it, but when it came into his posses- 
sion it seems that it was either lavishly spent or unwisely invested. 
(We are glad to learn, however, he left a competency for his family.) 
He was also a man of large charities. But it is unnecessary to dwell 
upon these minor points in his life. The day which made him great 
was the day when the idea of his speculum first dawned upon him 
— that day when he first conceived the thought of throwing an 
abundance of light into the vagina and around the womb, and at the 
same time obtaining ample space to work and ply his instruments. 
This alone is enough to carry his fame down to the remotest ages, 
and his historian will need no more brilliant facts than these on 
which to rest the immortality of his name. This instrument caused 
his name to flash over the medical world like a meteor in the night. 

Gynaecology to-day would not deserve the name of a separate and 
cultivated science, but for the light which Sims's speculum and the 
principles involved in it have thrown upon it. It has been to dis- 
eases of the womb what the printing press is to civilization, what 
the compass is to the mariner, what steam is to navigation, what the 
telescope is to astronomy, and grander than the telescope because it 
was the work of one man. Those great philosophers, Galileo, 
Gregory, Herschel, and Sir Isaac Newton, all claim and deserve suc- 
cessive parts of the telescope. Sims alone discovered his speculum, 
and, like Minerva from the brain of Jupiter, it sprang from his hands 
alone, full fledged and perfect when he gave it to the world. His 
work was so complete that it is said that no alteration or modifica- 
tions which have since been made upon it, up to this time, have been 
regarded as improvements. The distinguished Dr. Emmet, of New 


York, who is peer to any living gynaecologist, and whose reputation 
is world wide, has been heard to say, within the last few years, that 
so perfect was Sims's speculum and other instruments, that he had 
never been able to improve upon one of them. No man can divide 
the honor of his speculum with him, and he deserves to be called 
the father of modern gynaecology. 

Thus, starting amid the sloughs and swamps of Alabama, having 
for his patients the most humble in the land, often spending his 
nightsby the bedside of the sick found in the slave huts of these locali- 
ties, without family influence, himself poor and with nothing to aid 
him save a strong will and a carefnl preparation, combined with a 
devotion to purpose, he rose by the splendor of his own genius above 
all obstacles, and before he has reached the meridian of life we find 
him one of the acknowledged discoverers and benefactors of the 
world, and ranking as one of the foremost men in his own country. 
A few years later we hear of him in all the great capitals of Europe ; 
sometimes the guest and pet of emperors, often receiving honors and 
distinctions from learned and enlightened scientific bodies, courted 
by the elite of his own profession, sought by the nobility, and receiv- 
ing titles and decorations from courts representing and boasting the 
foremost civilization the world has ever known. 

I believe that before the next decade shall have passed away, 
when time with its silent throb shall have buried those antagonisms, 
rivalries, and jealousies which often spring up around the paths of 
great discoverers, it will be the settled verdict of the medical men 
of the world that Sims has lived to a greater purpose than any man 
in any age who had preceded him in his special department. 

Gentlemen, there is one page in the life of this great man, one 
scene in the living panorama of which he constituted a part, that I 
would fain not disturb, and one on which I would prefer to drop the 
mantle of oblivion, were it not that it is already a matter of history, 
and perhaps it is due to the memory of Dr. Sims that I should refer 
to it. I alluded to the night when, as one of the surgeons, he last 
met the governors of the Woman's Hospital, and which closed for- 
ever his connection with that institution. 

It is said that republics are ungrateful, and it therefore should 
not be surprising if even the governors of charitable institutions 
should sometimes forget their greatest benefactors, and smite the 
cheek of him whose hand was chiefly instrumental in calling them 


into existence. The "Woman's Hospital was Dr. Sims's bantling. 
The creation of its germ and the conception of its possibilities were 
the outgrowth of those discoveries which emanated from his brain 
alone, and its final success was due to his untiring exertions. He 
was proud of his work ; he was proud of the child of his own life, 
and when the Woman's Hospital was completed he regarded it as 
the largest pearl in all his greatness — the central jewel in his crown 
of glory. But while it was the glory of his life it was its humilia- 
tion too ! 

Those governors, who were in fact but little more than figure- 
heads so far as the privileges and duties of the surgeons were con- 
cerned, had taken upon themselves the privilege of regulating the 
affairs of the operating-room, and of saying to the surgeons that only 
fifteen guests or spectators should be permitted to be present at any 
one operation. Dr. Sims took this occasion for telling them that he 
had not obeyed this order of theirs, and would not, and that if they 
insisted on enforcing this rule his resignation was at their disposal. 
He claimed the right to invite such numbers as his own judgment 
and inclination might dictate. 

Their action in assuming to restrict his privileges, in this respect, 
he regarded as without authority. To a man of honor their action 
must have been offensive. 

In effect it accused him of being ignorant of the surgeon's duties 
in the sick-room, and of wanting in a proper regard for the feelings 
and sensibilities of his patients. All this made it insulting and gall- 
ing to him, and especially as he knew it to be an unauthorized inva- 
sion of his own prerogatives, inherent to the office which he held, 
and altogether outside of their accredited duties. 

All the world over, the creed of common courtsey which exists 
between the laity and profession makes the physician the autocrat 
of the sick-chamber, and the privilege of the surgeon, as to whom he 
will invite to his operating table or room, has never before been re- 
stricted. If it was wrong to invite all who desired to attend, or all 
whom the surgeon might wish to witness his operation, why invite 
fifteen ? It was not necessary to invite any ! The hospital service 
afforded all necessary assistance. If it would not offend the sensi- 
bilities of a woman to have fifteen guests present, would it shock 
her modesty very greatly to have eighteen, or twenty, or fifty, or a 
hundred, or any number that the room could accommodate con- 


veniently? Besides, it is well known that the patients in this 
hospital are rarely ever seen by the spectators until after they 
have been placed upon the operating-table and under the influence 
of an anaesthetic, when the table is rolled into position. An- 
other and even stronger reason exists against this restriction. To 
serve all the purposes in the interest of woman of which this hos- 
pital was capable, it was doubtless intended, or in contemplation by 
Dr. Sims from the first, that it should be used as a school, so far as 
possible, for teaching physicians from the country, or city, or other 
cities, or from other States or nations, who might temporarily be in 
New York for the purpose of studying that class of diseases, and 
would like to see these operations. 

But suppose these governors could find nothing in all these facts 
to make them retrace their steps, could they find nothing in the fact 
that Dr. Sims thought they were in error, and wished them to recon- 
sider their unjust and unwise action ? Could they not have con- 
ceded something to the opinions of the man who had created the 
hospital, who had devoted fifteen or twenty of the best years of his 
life to its service, who had passed many weary days and sleepless 
nights in the promotion of its interest, and had carried it upon his 
heart as none of them had ever done? They knew he had placed 
himself in a position, in relation to the order which they had issued, 
from which he could not recede without loss of dignity or even 
honor ; they knew he did not wish to sever his connection with the 
hospital, and they knew he did not wish his resignation accepted, 
and yet, with a heartless and cruel inflexibility, they refused to 
abolish their miserable order and accepted his resignation ; thus 
stabbing him in the most vital spot of his life, and mortifying him as 
nothing else had ever done. 

In this difficulty Dr. Sims had the sympathy of a large portion of 
the medical men of America. And, as an expression of their senti- 
ments in this direction, the American Medical Association, at its 
very next meeting, unanimously elected him its president. He was 
elected in Louisville in 1875, and presided at the meeting held in 
Philadelphia the succeeding year, known as the " centennial session." 
This was the very highest honor which could have been paid him 
by the medical men of his own country. "While Dr. Sims in every 
way deserved this high compliment, and was himself an honor to 
the position, I yet have reason to know that he was selected at this 


particular time over other distinguished aspirants, not only that they 
might thus express their admiration of his exalted worth, but also in 
approval of the manly, dignified and honorable position which he 
had assumed and maintained in his controversy with the managers 
or governors of the "Woman's Hospital. 

When the names of these sickly sentimental governors shall long 
since have passed into oblivion, and their foolish rules and regula- 
tions, in connection with this hospital, shall have been wisely for- 
gotten by the world, the name of Sims shall be known and read of 
all men as its great founder and patron, and emblazoned all over its 
walls " from turret to foundation stone " as its ensign-armorial and 
shield to guard it against evil and unwise spirits. 

Nor can posterity accept the imputation as true or just, that the 
man who had planned, and schemed, and worked, even in the mid- 
night solitude of his office, that his life might finally achieve this 
good to woman, could be false to any of the proper delicacies or 
courtesies due to her sex. I will not pursue this subject further — 
it is not a pleasant one to dwell upon. He is now far beyond the 
cruel malice or petty jealousies of those who bore a part in inflict- 
ing this mortification upon him ; and the manhood which recognizes 
the great value of his life will see to it that his name does not suffer 
neglect in the grave. 

The friendship and affection which valued his exalted worth and 
appreciated the beauty of his life would not shadow his claims to 
the admiration and gratitude of the world by exaggerating them, or 
by saying that he possessed none of the weaknesses common to 
human nature. He no doubt had his share of these. It is known 
to his friends that he was sometimes fretful, impatient, and intol- 
erant about minor matters or little crosses, and, when vexed or 
angered, did not usually attempt to conceal his displeasure. He 
was at times excitable, jealous of his rights, and keenly alive to any 
encroachment upon his claims to those discoveries which he thought 
belonged exclusively to himself, and when he considered them un- 
justly invaded he was offended, and outspoken to a degree beyond 
the reserve usually found in men of less mercurial dispositions. I 
do not refer to these things as faults, for they, like his other traits, 
but go to prove that he was a man without guile or deceit — too 
honest to dissemble, too noble to disguise. Vices he had none, or 
if he had I never knew them. If he had faults they were harmless 


to others, and deserve the name of frailties or foibles rather than 
faults, and were to his brilliant life only as the spots on the sun are 
to the splendor of that luminary. 

For nearly half a century our friend pursued his profession with 
an energy and devotion which were as inspiring to himself as they 
were beneficial to medical science and the welfare of humanity. 

The selfishness of renown had not a charm for him. Distinction 
he valued, as every high-minded professional man values it, for its 
influence and intended usefulness. It came to him without the least 
resort to doubtful means, and it remained to him as an inalienable 
possession. No wreath upon his brow was other than a garland of 
just and honorable fame; and, when death came, it had no frost to 
wither a leaf in the chaplet that two continents had 'woven for his 
crown. His splendid reputation is perfectly secure. It rests on 
such virtues, such talents, and such works as give to the name of 
Sims a mutual pledge of immoetalitt. 

Pardon me, gentlemen, for a little personal allusion to myself 
connected with Dr. Sims. 

From the time when Dr. Sims located in Montgomery up to the 
period when he left to cast his lot in the great city of New York, 
he was my warm and devoted friend and my loved companion. He 
was open and confiding to his friends. I was proud of his confi- 
dence and affection, and gave him in return the full measure of my 
own. The fact which I am about to refer to is known to but a few 
only of the older members of this body, and is this : A few weeks 
or months after he had removed from Alabama to New York, a 
little misunderstanding grew up between us, which resulted in our 
estrangement, and for many years afterward all intercourse between 
us ceased. This has always been to me one of the bitterest episodes 
of my life, and memory never recalls the event without a feeling of 
sadness and regret. In this rupture I was probably more to blame 
than he, and I have no doubt that, had not our paths in life widely 
diverged at this time, the heart-burning which our separation had 
caused to last for long years would have been forgiven and for- 
gotten in a few days. 

In 1868 I made a visit to New York, and while I was there he 
returned from a prolonged visit to Europe. The first time we met 
was at the opening of the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, when 
Dr. L. A. Say re was to deliver the introductory address. We were 


each, without the knowledge of the other, invited to go on the ros- 
trum, and were to meet in the faculty room to join the professors for 
that purpose. I did not know that Dr. Sims was in the room, and at 
the time I entered he did not observe me, but soon I felt some one 
clasp me around the neck with both arms, and looking I observed 
my long-lost friend Sims, who only said, " Baldwin, my old friend." 
"We had no words of explanation, but from that moment all feeling 
of resentment left my heart, and again I loved him as a brother. 
Since then our intercourse, by letter and otherwise, has been con- 
stant, confidential, and free. 

I look back now upon my association with him as one of the 
providences of my life, and his death as one of the bitterest afflic- 

Dr. Sims's Return to Montgomery in 1877. 

It is known that the first advancement of Dr. Sims toward the 
great distinction which lie afterward attained commenced in Mont- 
gomery, where he resided for a period of twelve years. In the year 
1877, after an absence of nearly twenty-five years, he returned to 
his old home to make a visit to his friends. The physicians of the 
place, members of the Medical and Surgical Society, in anticipation 
of his arrival, made arrangements to receive him in a manner be- 
coming his rank in the scientific world. The proceedings on this 
occasion were published in the " Montgomery Advertiser," but a? 
this paper had but a limited circulation outside of Alabama, and as 
the proceedings contained some interesting historical facts, and inci- 
dents of a pleasing character, as related partly by Dr. Sims himself, 
it has been suggested that it would not be out of place to add them 
to this memoir, for distribution among those friends who never 
met with them before, as forming a portion of this brief sketch of 
his life W. 0. B. 

[From the " Montgomery Advertiser."] 

Arrival of Dr. J. Marion Sims. — The Courtesies extended to Mm 
while in Montgomery. 

De. J. Maeiox Sims, the distinguished Gynaecologist and founder 
of the "Woman's Hospital of New York, arrived in our city on 
"Wednesday evening, and was met at the depot and escorted to the 
residence of his brother-in-law, Dr. B. It. Jones, by the committee 


of four from the Medical and Surgical Society of Montgomery : Drs. 
R. F. Michel, W. C. Jackson, J. B. Gaston, and James Berney. 

On entering the drawing-room, Dr. Michel addressed the dis- 
tinguished visitor as follows : 

"As chairman of the reception committee of the Medical and 
Surgical Society of Montgomery, I come with these gentlemen, Dr. 
Sims, to welcome you to the city, and to tender most earnestly our 
heart-felt congratulations on seeing you once more upon the soil of 
your former scenes of labor in the profession you have so much 
adorned by your intelligence, learning, and skill. 

" To tell you how gratefully we have watched your advance- 
ment to the very first rank of your profession, not only in this 
country, but in the Old World, is but to reiterate what you so well 
must understand. 

" The members of our society (of which you are an honorary 
member) have requested us to solicit your presence at a banquet, 
to be given in honor of your arrival among us. Please, therefore, 
select for this purpose an evening most suitable to your conven- 

Dr. Sims, with, much feeling, replied that, on visiting his old 
homestead, in South Carolina, he was taken sick, and had not, up 
to this time, entirely recuperated his strength. However, after 
thanking Dr. Michel for the kind and complimentary manner in 
which the invitation from the Medical and Surgical Society of 
Montgomery had been conveyed, he accepted the courtesy, and se- 
lected Tuesday evening, March 20th, as the time most convenient 
for him to meet the members of the society. 

At the hour appointed last evening, the beautiful hall was well 
illuminated, and the walls, decorated with drawings illustrating dif- 
ferent important problems in physiology, gave to the entire room a 
most scientific appearance. 

Dr. Sims was presented to the society by Dr. Michel, when Dr. 
B. R. Jones, president of the society, said : 

" Dr. Sims : Sir, it is with no ordinary feelings of pleasure that 
I welcome you to the hall of the Medical and Surgical Society of 
Montgomery. With a large portion of its members you are per- 
sonally acquainted; the others have known you by reputation. 
They and we have felt proud as we have watched your advance- 
ment to the highest honors of our profession. 


" Sir, we have ever claimed you as one of us from the founda- 
tion of the Sydenham Medical Society of this city, of which, dur- 
ing its existence in former years, you were always one of its most 
active members, and in the organization of this society you were 
elected one of its first honorary members. But, sir, I will leave it 
to one, and the only one left, of your confreres when you com- 
menced your medical career in this city — Dr. William O. Baldwin — 
to address you in expression of our high gratification in having you 
again with as." 

Dr. Baldwin, who had been selected by the society to receive 
the distinguished savan, as he had been many years ago his intimate 
associate and companion, addressed him in the following beautiful 
and dignified language : 

" Dr. Sims : As the representative of the Medical and Surgical 
Society of Montgomery, I am commissioned to tender you a hearty 
welcome to our hall, and to the courtesies and hospitalities of our 
association, in honor of the distinguished services which you have 
rendered to the science of medicine and surgery. 

" I feel myself incompetent, sir, to express to you in fitting 
terms the just pride which the members of the medical profession 
of our State, and especially those of the Medical and Surgical So- 
ciety of Montgomery, feel in the renown which you have won since 
you left our borders. Yet, it is perhaps proper that one of the 
few remaining of the brotherhood with w r hom you were associated 
in youth, and who witnessed the promises of your morning life, 
should be selected to tender this testimonial of our appreciation of 
your labors. 

" After an absence of twenty-five years, you are again in the 
halls of the first medical society to which you ever belonged. Sir, 
your eyes will wander in vain over this assembly in search of the 
faces of most of those with whom you were accustomed to meet 
and exchange friendly greetings in former years, and you will rec- 
ognize but few w 7 hose hands you grasped as you departed from our 
midst upon the great mission of your life. I am pained to remind 
you that most of those who then answered to roll-call in this so- 
ciety have passed from the stage of this world's action, and now 
sleep the sleep that knows no waking. 

" Sir, we claim you as an Alabamian. South Carolina may as- 
sert the honor of having rocked the cradle of your infacy, and of 


having nurtured your boyhood, but it was here in Montgomery that 
your greatness had its first dawning. It was here that your genius 
found its earliest expression, and it was here it first took its flight 
and asserted its claims to the applause of strangers. It was here 
that your sleepless industry, your anxious toil, and your sublime 
fidelity to purpose, carved out those surgical devices and appliances 
which have made your name so justly famous, and it was here that 
you first reduced those inventions to that practical utility in the 
treatment of the surgical diseases peculiar to woman which has not 
only challenged the admiration of the great and learned in your 
own profession, but has also won the homage of the crowned heads 
of Europe, and made your name a familiar word in all the great 
capitals o,f the civilized world. 

" It is surely no small honor or trifling subject for pride and 
congratulation to the State which claims to be the mother of your 
early manhood, to see that the enlightened courts of the Old 
World, with their splendid civilization, have recognized the vast 
resources of your genius and the importance of those great discov- 
eries which have justified them in ranking your name among those 
of the foremost men of the age, and in conferring upon you honors, 
titles, and decorations due only to those who, by their achievements 
in science, literature, art, or statesmanship, have accomplished some 
grand purpose in life, or conferred some lasting benefit on mankind. 
It is, therefore, eminently proper, upon your visit to the home of 
your youth, after an absence of so many years, that your early com- 
panions, associates, and friends of the medical profession should de- 
sire to greet you, and pay you that homage which is so justly your 
due. We wish, sir, to congratulate you upon the success of your 
labors and the usefulness of your life, as well as upon the splendor 
of the fame which these have given you. 

"Indeed, sir, to those who, like myself, are familiar with the 
difficulties and struggles of your early professional career, the grand 
success of your life would seem almost as a romance were it not 
for the solid and lasting benefits it has conferred upon humanity. 

"Let me also congratulate you upon the fine preservation of 
your physical and mental health. I am glad to see that Heaven has 
dealt so lightly and kindly with your person ; yet you are no longer 
the youth with whom, though somewhat your junior, I commenced 
my professional career. Often, in the solitude of my own quiet 


life, I have called to mind those good old days when we were 
young together, and as I looked through the vista of the years that 
have since passed, and remembered your hopeful and cheerful en- 
thusiasm, and your ardent devotion to your profession, which often 
excited me to greater zeal and effort, I could not wonder at the 
heroism you have displayed on other fields, or the brilliant reputa- 
tion you have achieved." 

Then, turning to the members of the society, Dr. Baldwin said : 

" The association of things always affects us. A page or a leaf 

torn from the book of memory, which we have carefully stored 

away in youth, becomes most precious when circumstances arise 

which bring to mind the most trifling fact there recorded. 

" A review or contemplation of the life of one with whom we 
ourselves entered the world derives a larger interest from the fact 
that we were personally observant of the adventures, enterprises, 
and resources which contributed to its success, and finds additional 
entertainment if we can call to mind the livery or outward appear- 
ance and habit with which it rushed into the world to work out the 
destinies awaiting it. In this connection, I well remember a friend 
with whom I associated much about a third of a century ago, when 
we were young doctors together — moved by the same sympathies, 
hopes, and ambitions, and striving in friendly rivalry for a prize in 
the same noble calling. He had a handsome face, with a benevo- 
lent, lively, and winning expression of countenance, dark eyes, 
chestnut hair, figure erect, slender and boyish-looking, mercurial in 
his disposition, enthusiastic in his pursuits, unaffected in his address, 
kind in his deportment, and always willing to do or say something 
to make others feel pleasant and happy. With these traits he pos- 
sessed more personal magnetism than any man I ever met. It 
seems to me I can see him at this very moment with his captivating, 
boyish tricks, and his other engaging levities, which, being practiced 
only on proper occasions, never failed to make him a most charm- 
ing companion. One of the pictures of his daily life here, now 
most vivid upon my memory, is that one wherein I have seen him 
seated in his curiously fashioned buggy, which he playfully called 
his ' Grecian Galley,' with his mettlesome little sorrel mare between 
the shafts, with her shining red coat, her gay white face, and her 
sinewy, white legs, looking as proud as Juno. I think he called 
her ' Kitty Jumper.' His buggy was, indeed, a queer and notable- 


looking little land craft, and, by the way, was the first four-wheeled 
vehicle ever used in Montgomery for the purpose of practicing 
medicine. At first this was quite a displeasing innovation upon the 
customs of our staid old physicians, as previous to that time we 
had all been going on horseback, with doctors' saddle-bags, or in 
the old-fashioned two-wheeled sulky, and considered these the 
proper paraphernalia of a physician as he was seen going his daily 
rounds. We soon, however, found this innovation of the young 
doctor to be only a marked improvement upon our primitive mode 
of locomotion, as the world has since done with his innovations 
upon science, except that we could never come quite up to the style 
and fashion of this particular vehicle, which probably never had a 

'* Thus seated in his buggy, with his little negro boy by his side, 
and panoplied with a medicine-box and case of surgical instruments 
at his feet, I well remember the picture as it used to pass rapidly to 
and fro in our streets, with the doctor's whip nervously waving 
over his little favorite, as if he did not intend to lose any practice 
through the lazy habit of slow driving. 

" But all things upon this earth must change. Time, with its 
ceaseless and silent throb, at length dissolves every living panorama, 
and that which constituted my picture has not escaped this all-per- 
vading law. 

" The buggy, the horse, the medicine-box, and perhaps the case 
of surgical instruments, it is reasonable to suppose, have long since 
turned to dust and ashes — the little negro, it is to be hoped, has 
reached the dignified position provided by the ' Fifteenth Amend- 
ment ' — while he who formed the central figure in the picture, the 
young doctor, still lives, as the renowned originator and founder of 
one of the noblest charities ever erected to woman — the Woman's 
Hospital of New York. Through his own unaided efforts he has 
achieved results which have throbbed a new life into the science of 
gynaecology, and awakened for it an interest and influence which 
have extended far beyond the confines of his own country, and in- 
deed to the outer borders of civilization. For original invention 
and operative skill, he stands in his special department with but 
few rivals and no superior, and has had more honors and distinc- 
tions conferred upon him by his own and foreign countries than 
any living American surgeon ; and now, at the age of sixty-four 


years, I will venture to say, has as much metal and pluck as had the 
little spirited mare which so proudly carried him in the days of his 

" I have ref erred to these little incidents in the early life of my 
old friend, chiefly because they bring pleasant reminiscences to my 
own mind, and partly because they demonstrate the fact that the 
germs of great thought and inventive genius, which are destined to 
receive the admiration of the world, can as well be hid under a 
light, happy, careless, and sometimes seemingly thoughtless exte- 
rior, as in the recesses of that grave and severe mind whose out- 
ward look is that of stern and dignified reserve. 1 ' 

Then, turning again to Dr. Sims, he said: 

" Sir, you may not be able to fill up the blanks in the picture I 
have drawn, but I believe there are some within the hearing of my 
voice, and many old citizens outside of the hall, who will have no 
difficulty in that respect. 

u In conclusion, sir, permit me to say that, if your achievements 
within the the domain of science, or if your exalted worth as a 
benefactor of your race, should hereafter rear the monumental 
marble to perpetuate your name as a great physician, still those 
simple, unaffected, kind and genial qualities of the heart, so pecul- 
iarly your own. and so well remembered by the companions of 
your youth, will ever with them constitute the charm and glory of 
your life as a man. 

" Let me again welcome you to our city and to the arms and 
hearts of your old friends, and express the hope that the Provi- 
dence which has watched over and prospered all your efforts, will 
still spare you many years of active, useful life, and shed upon your 
pathway its richest bounties." 

In response to Dr. Baldwin's remarks, Dr. Sims said : 

" Mr. Peestdext and Gentlemen of the Medical and Stjegi- 
cal Society of Montgomery : I thank you with all my heart for 
this kind reception, and you, sir, for the kindly manner in which 
you have been pleased to speak of my labors. A warm personal 
friendship of nearly forty years naturally gives a roseate hue to 
your recollection of by-gone days. It is seldom given to any man 
to live to see himself fully understood, and his labors fully appre- 
ciated. On this score I certainly have no cause of complaint, for 
wherever I go, whether in our own country or in the Old World, 


the same generous recognition awaits me ; but not so demonstra- 
tively as here on my return to my old home, the scene of my early 
struggles. Sir, if I were a conquering hero, or a great statesman, 
you could not vie stronger with each other in trying to do me 
honor. But when such an ovation is given to a mere doctor, even 
if he is in deeds a philanthropist, and in heart a patriot, it seems 
almost paradoxical. 

" Forty -two years ago I left my native State — South Carolina — 
to seek a home in Alabama. I intended going to Marengo County, 
but circumstances conspired to arrest my progress. 

" The head and front of this conspiracy was my old friend Dr. 
Charles S. Lucas, who is with us this evening. He was the first 
friend I ever made in Alabama, and has remained my friend ever 
since. Many little incidents have occurred in the last few days to 
touch my heart — first, the visits and congratulations of my medical 
friends ; second, of my lay friends ; third, of former patients ; 
fourth, of my former slaves ; and, fifth, when my octogenarian 
friend, Dr. Lucas, heard I was here, he mounted his horse and rode 
fifteen miles to see me. We met, and our tears were mingled for 
auld lang syne. 

" Well, I remained two years at Mount Meigs. The late Dr. 
Boiling A. Blakey, of Macon County, then offered me a partner- 
ship, and, accepting it, I went to Macon County, and lived there 
three years, and, in 1840, I came to Montgomery. You claim me 
as an Alabamian, and rightly, too, for all that I am I owe to Mont- 
gomery and to the people of Montgomery. I am frank to acknowl- 
edge my allegiance, and can do it without treason to my native 
State. When I came among you I was young, inexperienced, in 
bad health, and very poor. I had nothing whatever to recommend 
me— nothing but honesty, industry, and determination to succeed. 
You received me kindly, and with the greatest hospitality. You 
were to me good Samaritans. You literally fulfilled toward me the 
command of our Saviour— for ' I was naked and ye clothed me ; an 
hungered and ye gave me to eat ; thirsty and ye gave me drink ; I 
was sick and ye visited me,' and if I had been in prison I am sure 
you would have liberated me as soon as possible. Your Cromme- 
lins and your Pollards gave me houses to live in till I was able to 
procure one for myself. Your merchants gave me credit for food, 
and raiment for my family, when I had not a dollar in the world to 


pay for them. And no young man was ever treated more kindly 
by his seniors in the profession. How, then, could I ever be other- 
wise than grateful and loyal to those who were my friends when I 
most needed friends ? 

" I have long felt that I belonged to a generation that is past 
and gone. But never till this moment have I realized this solemn 
fact more intensely. In looking round this room I see that you, 
sir, and I are the only survivors of the noble band of brothers who 
were our companions in 1840. 

" Sir, as I said before, you and I are the only survivors of the 
men of 1840. You are many years my junior, and I hope and pray 
that you may long live to advance the science you have done so 
much to adorn, and to exert among your brethren the benign influ- 
ence that has characterized your whole life. 

"Again, gentlemen, let me thank you for the distinguished 
honor you have conferred upon me." 

After these interesting proceedings, Dr. Sims was escorted by 
the members of the society, in procession, to the mansion of Dr. 
Baldwin, on Perry Street, this gentleman having kindly tendered 
his house to the Medical Society as the best place for the banquet 
they had prepared for their distinguished guest. 

The company sat down to the table about ten o'clock, and from 
then on until a late hour there was literally "a feast of reason and 
a flow of soul." In the center of the table was a beautiful stand of 
flowers, and above it a wreath, in the center of which the word 
" Sims " was most artistically arranged in flowers. Many toasts 
were offered and appropriately responded to. Altogether the even- 
ing was one long to be remembered by all who were present. 


Repoet of the Memorial Meeting of the Medical Society of 
the District of Columbia, at the National Capital, in 
Honoe of Db. J. Marion Sims, held Novembee 21, 1883. 

Dr. A. F. A. Kino, chairman, presided. 

Dr. T. E. McAedle, secretary. 

Dr. King stated that the regular order of business would be sus- 
pended, in order to devote the evening to hearing the report of the 
committee appointed last week to prepare resolutions relative to the 
late Dr. J. Marion Sims. He said that while the profession through- 
out the world would mourn the loss and honor the memory of so 
great a man, he was glad to know that this society would not remain 
silent. While unprepared to attempt any adequate eulogy of Dr. 
Sims, he regarded him as an extraordinary genius, whose name would 
remain immortal in the annals of medicine. Among the greatest 
luminaries that adorn the professional firmament, Sims appeared as 
a comet, leaving a path of light that would forever reflect luster 
upon the medical art. Reading only lately the old treatment of 
vaginal fistula, he referred to the great boon conferred upon the 
victims of this malady by the inventive genius of Dr. Sims. In con- 
clusion, Dr. King called attention to portraits of the deceased, 
kindly loaned by Dr. Busey, and then called upon Dr. Garnett for 
report of committee. 

Resolutions presented by Dr. A. Y. P. Garnett, Chairman of the 


Whereas, The Medical Society of the District of Columbia having 
heard of the death of our illustrious countryman, Dr. J. Marion 
Sims, with profound sorrow, and being impelled by feelings of the 
sincerest sympathy and warmest admiration for the lamented dead, 
desire to record the expression of their sentiments by the following 
resolutions : 


Resolved, 1. That the sad intelligence of the sudden and unex- 
pected death of Dr. J. Marion Sims, flashed throughout the civilized 
world with electric speed, has communicated to us a shock well 
calculated to overcome us with emotions of unaffected sorrow and 
abiding regret. 

Resolved, 2. That as Americans we feel justly proud cf the brill- 
iant and distinguished career of this eminent physician, whose 
original and valuable achievements in the domain of surgery, as well 
as his wisdom, superior skill and rare tact in other departments of 
his profession, illustrated a genius and intelligence seldom vouch- 
safed to mortal man, and which challenged the admiration of the 
scientific world, and deserved the gratitude of suffering humanity. 

Resolved, 3. That we shall ever recall the man as one who com- 
bined an unusual and attractive beauty of manly form, with a refine- 
ment and gentleness of manner, and a genial cordiality of deport- 
ment, betokening the "kind, true soul within,' , which seldom failed 
to win and fascinate all with whom he came in contact, calling forth 
the grateful love of woman, and the admiring friendship of man. 

Resolved, -i. That among the galaxy of -eminent men of our coun- 
try in scientific achievements, Dr. J. Marion Sims stands forth a 
grand, central light, illuminating the world of science, and fully 
receiving not only due recognition and reverential observation from 
the savans of Europe, but royal homage from crowned heads, and 
grateful tributes from titled peers. 

Resolved, 5. That although he had attained the period allotted 
to man, of three score years and ten, we deplore his loss, because 
we believe that the light of his genius had not grown dim with 
years, but that to him we might still look for future discoveries of 
hidden truth in the yet unexplored regions of medical science, which 
can only be penetrated and made manifest by a genius like that of 

Resolved, 6. That a copy of the foregoing resolutions be sent to 
the family of the deceased as a respectful offering of our sincere 
sympathy and condolence. 

Alexander Y. P. Gaexett, M. D. 
J. M. Toxee. M. D. 
Sameel 0. Beset. M. D. 
William G. Palmee. M. D. 
W. W. Johxstox, M. D. 


Remarks of Dr. A. T. P. Garnett. 

In presenting these resolutions, Mr. President, which are intended 
to express the sentiments of this body, I can not refrain, sir, from 
adding a few words on behalf of myself individually. I enjoyed the 
honor of the acquaintance and friendship of Dr. Sims during the 
last five or six years of his life, and therefore claim the privilege of 
paying a tribute to this noble man as I knew and apprehended him. 

I shall not attempt to present even a brief biography of the illus- 
trious dead, nor is it my purpose to review the numerous and brill- 
iant achievements which illustrated his rare powers and adorned 
his professional career. 

The portrayal of these I leave to others who are more familiar 
with the history of his whole life, and who have doubtless rendered 
themselves better competent than I am to descant upon these 

Viewed from a social standpoint alone, we find him as much 
appreciated in the salons of European society, where his merits 
made him the petted favorite and envied recipient of royal honors, 
as he was the distinguished cynosure in the arena of professional 
effort. Almost unequaled in polished refinement and gentle fascina- 
tion of manner, no one could be brought within the sphere of his 
magnetic iufluence without feeling the attraction and acknowledging 
the presence of an extraordinary being. 

From the first moment of my acquaintance with this singularly 
gifted man, I felt attracted to him by a mysterious and irresistible 
charm, never before experienced in the presence of a stranger, and, 
almost unconsciously to myself, I conceived from that moment an 
interest which was destined in a short time to develop into lasting 
sentiments of friendship. 

It was evidently through his superlative qualities of character 
and heart, and rare grace of manner, combined with his irresistible 
personal presence, that he won the exceptional popularity he every- 
where enjoyed amongst men and women, not only in the higher cir- 
cles of society, but in the humble walks of life. 

A prominent and beautiful feature of his character was the kind 
and sympathetic interest he always manifested in the younger mem- 
bers of his profession. Were I familiar with the private history of 
his life I could doubtless there find many incidents illustrating this 


admirable trait. In view of the circumstances which call forth my 
remarks, it can not be deemed egotism for me to give an instance of 
his kind thoughtfalness which considered others, even amidst press- 
ing cares and outside duties, because it came home to myself during 
his recent visit to this city. 

Though in Washington for only a few days, he did me the honor 
to call several times at my office, and conversed fully and freely of 
his plans and purposes in regard to his contemplated residence in 
this city ; yet he did not forget to make especial inquiries after the 
health of my son, with whom he was personally acquainted, and to 
evince great interest in his professional plans. I can see now the 
earnest and interested expression of face with which he turned to 
me and said, when about leaving: " Be sure to make your boy come 
to see me ; write and tell him to keep out of Charity Hospital, and 
send him to me." This interest was manifested toward the young 
doctor, not merely to the son of his friend. 

Apart from the many personal associations which bound me to 
Dr. Sims, I may be pardoned, I trust, for referring to one incident 
of his life, while in Europe during the late civil war in this country, 
which not only enhances the feeling of respect that I entertain for 
him now that he is dead, but served also as a bond of union between 
us during his life : 

I allude, Mr. President, to the efforts made by the United States 
Representative at the Court of Belgium to induce King Leopold to 
refrain from bestowing the honor of his order upon Dr. Sims, because 
he sympathized with the people of his own section in their struggle 
for self-government. All that official influence, inspired by political 
and sectional malevolence, could accomplish was exerted against 
him, on the sole plea that he was loyal in heart to the South ; and 
this sinister influence so far prevailed that the order of decoration 
(intended for merit and distinguished ability, that should have re- 
ceived just recognition from even a national foe) was actually de- 
ferred for a time. 

I can not repress, sir, the pride I feel that this great and good 
man was a native of the South, and that I can stand here to-night 
and claim for that section of this Union, although remote from the 
great centers of medical learning and the best opportunities of clini- 
cal observation and experimentation, the proud honor of having given 
to the profession the bold and intrepid pioneer in the art of gynas- 


cology, in the person of McDowell, of Kentucky, as well as that 
genius, skill and perseverance which developed it into a science, in 
the person of J. Marion Sims, of South Carolina. 

Biography read by Dr. J. M, Toner. 

James Marion Sims, M. D., was born in Lancaster District, South 
Carolina, January 25, 1813, and died suddenly of heart disease at his 
residence, 267 Madison Avenue, New York, November 1 3, 1883. He 
was a descendant of the great Scottish chieftain, Rob Roy MacGregor. 
His birth-place was in the vicinity of the dividing line between North 
and South Carolina, near where President Andrew, Jackson first 
breathed life. Having received a good preparatory education at the 
common school and from private tutors, he also became well grounded 
in the classics and acquired a knowledge of French, which he spoke 
and wrote with readiness. At a suitable age he entered South Caro- 
lina College, and graduated in letters in 1832. His medical studies 
were pursued first in Charleston, South Carolina, then in Philadel- 
phia, Pennsylvania, where he received the degree of M. D. from the 
Jefferson Medical College in 1835. The following year he began 
practice near Montgomery, Alabama, and a year later he removed 
to that city, where he acquired a large and lucrative business. In 
1845 he communicated to the profession some new views on "Tris- 
mus Nascentium," which he published in the "American Journal of 
Medical Science," in 1846, and a second paper on the same subject 
in 1848. In following the professional labors and life of Dr. Sims 
it should be borne in mind that he was scholarly and well-read in 
his profession, a good general practitioner, a careful diagnostician, 
and a fearless and dextrous surgical operator, before he developed 
the specialty of gynaecology. Although this is well known to the 
older members of the profession, it is fully manifested by the sub- 
jects which early engaged his attention as an author. His first five 
contributions to medical literature were upon diseases and operations 
of interest to the general practitioner and surgeon. It was not until 
1852 that he published any account of his discoveries and operations, 
which he followed with such eminent success, and which justly 
brought him such distinguished honors. 

In 1845 his attention was especially called to the subject of vesico- 
vaginal fistula, which previous to that time had been much neglected 


by surgeons, or deemed incurable. Dr. Sims conceived the idea of 
relieving its victims by a surgical operation. To this end Dr. Sims 
established at Montgomery a private hospital, into which he received 
patients suffering from this accident, and after many efforts and 
modified operations he, in 1849, fully established the fact to the pro- 
fession that his operation was a success. The devotion and earnest- 
ness with which he pursued this branch of surgery led to the in- 
vention of a number of new and important instruments and devices 
to accomplish the results desired, some of which bear his name. 
Among them is " Sims's speculum," and the use of " the silver wire 
suture," which, instead of the silk thread, was of great value. Sub- 
sequently he used the silver wire suture in all operations where 
sutures were required. Owing to unceasing toil his health failed in 
1850, and in 1851, while confined to his room from a severe and pro- 
tracted indisposition, which he and his friends feared would termi- 
nate in death, he wrote his famous paper on " Sims's Operation for 
Vesico- Vaginal Fistula," which was published in the "American 
Journal of Medical Science " for January, 1852. 

The good results which had been obtained in his hospital for the 
especial treatment of diseases and accidents to which women are 
liable, reports of which were, from time to time, published in the 
medical journals, awakened in the profession much interest, and 
patients were sent to consult Dr. Sims from all parts of the country. 

A change of climate, on account of his health, as well as to find, 
a larger field for professional work, led him to remove to the City 
of New York in 1853. 

Although his health was not fully restored, he, with the encour- 
agement of some of the leading physicians, within a year commenced 
the founding of a woman's hospital in that city, which through his 
energy, efficiency, and surgical skill, and under the patronage of 
some forty of the first ladies of New York, became, in 1855, an 
established fact. To bring the subject directly before the profession 
of the City of New York, Dr. Sims determined to deliver an address 
to the profession and the public on the necessity of a hospital for 
women. The following is a copy of the call which was published in 
the leading city papers : 

" Lecture on the Necessity of Organizing a Great Hospital in this 
City for the Diseases Peculiar to Females. — The undersigned will de- 
liver a lecture on this subject at the Stuyvesant Institute, No. 659 


Broadway, on Thursday evening, the 18th inst., at 8 o'clock. The 
medical profession and the public are respectfully invited to attend. 
J. Maeion Sims, M. D., 77 Madison Avenue." — From the New York 
" Tribune," May 17, 1854. 

As this was a most important juncture in the professional career 
of Dr. Sims, we will be pardoned for referring to the effect of the 
lecture, as he chose to call it, upon the profession and the public. 
The New York "Post," and also the New York "Times," on the 
morning of the 19th, each had brief notices of the meeting, cautious- 
ly commending its objects : 

The following is from the New York " Times " of May 19, 1854 : 
"Dr. Sims on a Hospital for Females. — In spite of a heavy shower 
that fell just at the hour when the meeting was announced to open, 
the lecture-room of the Stuyvesant Institute was nearly filled last 
evening with persons who were present to hear Dr. Sims on the 
reasons why a hospital should be established in this city for the 
treatment of the diseases peculiar to females. A large proportion 
of those present were physicians. Some of the * solid men ' and a 
number of ladies were in attendance, too. The doctor spoke with 
great earnestness, and directly to the point, at times becoming elo- 
quent with his subject. 

" He aimed, by the history of a Southern institution with which 
he had been connected, and its results, to show how much might be 
done in this city, and how great was our need. The attention was 
undiminished to the close, and it was evident that the right impres- 
sion had been made. 

" On sitting down, Dr. Griscom, of the New York Hospital, after 
a few complimentary remarks, moved that those present organize 
themselves into a business meeting, and nominated Dr. Edward 
Delafield to the chair, and Dr. Edward Beadle as secretary, which 
was seconded by Dr. Gardner, and which motion was unanimously 

" Dr. Griscom, in the course of his remarks, said that the inter- 
ests of humanity united in demanding such a hospital. He re- 
marked that a large percentage of the cases of insanity in our insane 
asylums is due to the neglected diseases of females. 

" A resolution of thanks to Dr. Sims was unanimously passed, 
and another resolution approving of the project, and that a-com- 
mittee of ten persons — five physicians and five laymen — to de- 


vise ways and means to accomplish it be appointed, was also 

" The committee is to be named by the president, and hereafter 
announced through the press. Meanwhile the project will be dis- 
cussed by the profession, and we trust not ineffectually. The labor 
of establishing a new hospital in this city is not a trifling one. But 
there is a demand for more hospital room for these special diseases 
— a most urgent demand. We trust that the benevolent will turn 
their attention this way." 

The project and the address is commented upon in " The Ameri- 
can Medical Monthly " for June, 1854, page 479, in the following 
language : " On the evening of the 18th ult., 1854, a number of pro- 
fessional men and others, about two hundred, among whom were 
conspicuous five ladies, attended the Stuyvesant Institute by invita- 
tion, to hear Dr. Sims's argument in favor of a hospital for the re- 
ception and treatment of diseases peculiar to women. 

" The lecturer traced the history of his operation for vesico- vagi- 
nal fistula, and related in a pleasing and effective manner the vari- 
ous steps by which he had attained progressively to the present ex- 
cellence in the performance of this great achievement in curative 

'' It wa3 a striking narrative. The obstacles and difficulties he 
encountered and from every quarter, the failures and disappoint- 
ments which mortified but did not subdue him, the discouragements 
of friends and the sacrifice of time, money, bodily and mental labor, 
would have been sufficient to defeat a less resolute will, to try a 
faith not sustained by the soundness of the principles which directed 
him, and the sufficiency of the science on whose altar he was labor- 
ing to place the trophy of perserverance, ingenuity, and devotion. 

"At the conclusion of the lecture, Dr. Delafield was appointed 
chairman of the meeting, and Dr. Beadle secretary, when two reso- 
lutions were unanimously passed, one expressive of accordance with 
the views propounded by the lecturer, the other appointing a com- 
mittee often, comprised of five medical men and five lay members, 
to devise a plan for accomplishing so desirable an object as the es- 
tablishment of the institution then so eloquently advocated." 

The committee of ways and means was composed of Drs. J. "W. 
Francis, Valentine Mott, Alexander H. Stevens, Horace Green, J. 
Marion Sims, Peter Cooper, Hon. Erastus C. Benedict. An appro- 


priation of $2,500 was obtained from the City Council, to which was 
added funds raised by the ladies, a house was rented for temporary 
use, and the hospital opened in May, 1855. 

The New York "Medical Times" for June, 1855, page 368, has 
the following: '* Woman's Hospital. — A building on Madison Ave- 
nue, No. 83, having been rented for the purpose of this institution, 
it was formally opened on the 2d of June, 1855, being the first hos- 
pital of the kind in New York. Dr. J. W. Francis, one of the con- 
sulting physicians, presided, and delivered an appropriate address 
commendatory of the object. The other prominent speakers on 
this occasion were Drs. E. H. Dixon (of the 'Scalpel '), D. M. Eeese, 
and Horace Green. There were at the time nineteen patients under 

Dr. Sims had been elected attending surgeon, and Drs. Mott, 
Stevens, Francis, Delafield, and Green, a consulting board. The in- 
stitution was patronized by patients from all parts of the country. 
The success attained by the treatment given, and the important 
operations performed in it, speedily demonstrated its usefulness and 
the need for an enlarged establishment. 

During the sessions of the New York Legislature of 1857-1858, 
Dr. Sims, aided by influential gentlemen of New York City, obtained 
a charter for " The Woman's Hospital for the State of New York," 
and received from the city a grant of a block or square of some 
80,000 feet of ground, and an appropriation of $10,000"to assist in 
erecting suitable buildings for hospital purposes near the Central 
Park, opposite Columbia College. 

Dr. Sims made a careful study of hospital designs and plans, and 
finally recommended the pavilion system as the best suited to the 

The first pavilion, with a capacity of seventy beds, was completed 
and occupied in 1866. Largely through Dr. Sims's personal efforts, 
and the merits of the work done in the hospital, aid was at differ- 
ent times obtained from the State to the amount of $60,000 for the 
institution. A second pavilion was opened in 1876, and the com- 
bined capacity of the two pavilions is 260 beds. This hospital is at 
once a grand monument to the genius of Dr. J. Marion Sims, and to 
the humanity and medical progress of the age. In 1861 Dr. Sims 
first visited Europe, chiefly to study hospital construction and its 
sanitary requirements. His arrival was everywhere heralded by 


encomiums of praise for his valuable discoveries and surgical skill, 
and he received from the profession in all the large cities and hospi- 
tals of Europe such a welcome as has rarely or never been given to 
a medical man. He was pressed to operate in many of the leading 
hospitals, and by surgeons who themselves enjoyed world-wide repu- 

Dublin, London, Paris, and Brussels were each in turn the thea- 
tre of his surgical triumphs. He operated in nine different hospitals 
in London, and perhaps a greater number in Paris. Hi3 successes 
were so noted and brilliant that he speedily received decorations 
from the Governments of France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, 
and Belgium as a public benefactor. Indeed, he received two med- 
als from the Government of Italy. 

From France he received the Order of the Knights of the Legion 
of Honor, from Belgium the Order of Leopold I, and from Ger- 
many the Iron Cross. 

Having returned to America in 1862, after a brief stay at his 
home, he revisited Europe, to place his children at school, but with 
the intention of returning to his practice in New York, which had 
grown to be large, responsible, and remunerative. But as soon as it 
was known that Dr. Sims was again in Paris, patients flocked to 
him in such numbers from all parts of the world as to fully oc- 
cupy his time, and rendered it next to impossible for him to refuse 
treatment, and it was not till 1868 that he again returned to New 
York and resumed his practice, his family remaining in London. 

At the opening of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, Dr. Sims 
happened to be in Paris, and was the prime mover in organizing 
what is known in history as the Anglo-American Ambulance Corps, 
and was made its surgeon-in-chief. The organization did good ser- 
vice at and after the battle of Sedan, which led to the downfall of 
Napoleon III. He was placed in charge of Mayory Hospital, with 
over four hundred beds, and served faithfully and efficiently for a 
month, when he resigned the position and returned to Paris. He 
was one of the escorts who attended Marshal McMahon from the 
field when wounded by a shell. 

The incident was gracefully remembered and acknowledged by 
the Marshal, who gave him one thousand francs to purchase delica- 
cies for those confined to the hospital. A report of the services and 
operations of the Anglo-American Ambulance Corps was made by 


Dr. Sims's first assistant, William McCormack, now Sir William 
McCormack, and was published in London in 1871. 

I am unable at this time to give a full list of Dr. Sims's contri- 
butions to journalistic medical literature. Whenever he wrote he 
had something to say which the profession was ready and anxious 
to hear from so original and able an exponent of the art and prin- 
ciples of medicine. The following is presented as an approximate 
list of Dr. Sims's publications. Most of his writings have been trans- 
lated and published in the French, German and Italian languages : 

"An Essay on the Pathology and Treatment of Trismus Nascentium, or 
Lockjaw of Infants." Svo, pp. 21. Philadelphia : Lea & Blanchard. 1864. 
From Amer. Jour. Med. Sc, April, 1846, Vol. II, p. 363. 

" Eemoval of the Superior Maxilla for a Tumor of the Antrum. Apparent 
Cure. Eeturn of the Disease. Second Operation. Sequel." Illustrated by 
woodcuts. Amer. Jour. Med. Sc, April, 1847. 

" Osteo-Sarcoma of the Lower Jaw. Eemoval of the Body of the Bone 
without External Mutilation." — Amer. Jour. Med. Sc, October, 1847. 

*' Further Observations on Trismus Nascentium, with Cases illustrating its 
Etiology and Treatment." — Amer. Jour. Med. Sc, July, 1848, pp. 59 to 78. 

" Further Observations on Trismus Nascentium, with Cases illustrating its 
Etiology and Treatment." — Amer. Jour. Med. Sc, October, 1848, pp. 354 to 

"On the Treatment of Vesicovaginal Fistula." With Illustrations. — 
Amer. Jour. Med. Sc, January, 1852. 

" On the Treatment of Vesico- Vaginal Fistula." A reprint. 8vo, pp. 28. 
New York. 1853. 

" On the Treatment of Vesico- Vaginal Fistula." By J. Marion Sims, of 
New York, late of Montgomery, Ala. Philadelphia: Blanchard & Lea. 
1853. Pp. 28.— A review in the New York Med. Times, December, 1853, p. 

" Two Cases of Vesico- Vaginal Fistula, cured by J. Marion Sims, of New 
York, late of Montgomery, Ala."— New York Med. Gaz., January, 1854, p. 1, 
with an illustration. 

" A case of Vesico- Vaginal Fistula, with the Os Uteri closed up in the 
Bladder ; cured by J. Marion Sims of New York, late of Montgomery, Ala., 
with an Illustration Exhibiting the Parts."— Amer. Med. Monthly, February, 

"A Case of Vesico-Vaginal Fistula resisting the Actual Cautery for more 
than Seven Years ; Cured in Thirteen Days by the Author's Process."— New 
York Med. Times, May, 1854. 

" Vesico-Vaginal Fistula of Seven Years' Duration ; Cured in Thirteen 
Days by Sims's Method."— From New York Med.Tvmes, 1854; Amer. Jour. 
Med. Sc, July, 1854. 


•• A New Uterine Elevator, with. Illustration." — Amer. Jour. Med. Sc, p. 
U . .'anuary, 1858. 

•• A Be view of Silver Sutures in Surgery. An Anniversary Discourse be- 
fore the New York Academy of Medicine." Pp. 20. Philadelphia. 1858. 
Eeprinted from Xorth Amer. Med. db CTiir. Ret., July, 1: 7 :. 

" Silver Sutures in Surgery. An Anniversary Address before the New 
York Academy of Medicine." November IS. 1857. 8vo, pp. 79. New York: 
- Sl «St W. Wood. 1858. 

" On the Poisonous Properties of Quinia, with Eemarks by William 0. 
Baldwin." 8vo. New York, 1861.— From Med. Gaz., New York, 1861. 

M Amputation of the Cervix Uteri." 8vo, pp. 16. New York : Horn Book 
and Job Printing Office, 1861. — Extract from "Transactions of New York 
State Medical Society, 1861." 

•■ Vaginismus." A paper referred to in the "Transactions of the Ob- 
stetrical Society of London, 1862." — New York Med. Jour., July, 18*32. 

" Influence of Uterine Displacements upon the Sterile Condition." Bead 
before the British Medical Association, 1865. — Med. Timet and Gaz., August 
19, 1865; Amer. Jour, of Med. Sc, October, 1865. 

"Chronic Inversion of the Uterus." Bead before the Obstetrical Society 
of London, October ^ . 1 ; :. — Brit. Med. Jour., November 18, 1865. 

u Listers Antiseptic Methods in Ovariotomy." New York Med. Bee, Oc- 
tober 9. 1865. 

" Procedentia Uteri." Bead before the Obstetrical Society of London, De- 
cember 16, 1865. — Lancet, December 16, 1865; Amer. Jour. Med. Sc, April, 
1366, p. 55L 

" Clinical Notes on Uterine Surgery, with Special Beferences to the Man- 
angement of the Sterile Condition." 8vo, pp. 401. New York : Wood & Co. 

" Ovariotomy. Pedicle Secured by Silver Wire, after the Failure of the 
steal Cautery to Arrest Haemorrhage. Safe Cure." — Brit. Med. Jour., July 
19, 1S67; Amer. Med. Jour. Sc, April. 1867. 

" On the Nitrous Oxide Gas as an Anaesthetic ; with a Note by J. Thierry- 
Mieg.*'— Brit. Med. Jour., April 11, ] : 

" Illustrations of the Value of the Microscope in the Treatment of the Sterile 
Condition." Bead before the Midwifery Section of the British Medical Asso- 
ciation, August, 1S63.— Brit. Med. Jour., October 31, 1368, p. 469, concluded 
on p. i 1 

" The Woman's Hospital Anniversary." Address delivered at the Wom- 

a Hospital, New York, November I". 1 ; :: Svo, pp. 11. New York: 
Baker & Godwin, printers. 1868. 

" On the Microscope as an Aid in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Ste- 
rility." 8vo, pp. 25. New York : D. Appleton & Co. 1869. Bead before 
the New York County Medical Society, February 7, 1863.— From New York 
Med. Jour.. January, 1 ; 

"Ovariotomy. Pedicle secured by Silver Wire. Ligature. Cure." — Brit. 
MA Jour., April 16, 1869. 


" Ou Ovariotomy." 8vo, pp. 85. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1873. 
— From New York Med. Jour., December, 1872, and April, 1873. 

" On Intra-Uterine Fibroids, with Illustrations of Methods, etc." 8vo, pp. 
27. New York : D. Appleton & Co. 1874. Eeprinted from the New York 
Med. Jour., April, 1874. 

" On N&aton's Method of Bcsuscitation from Chloroform. Narcosis." 
Kead before the Surgical Section at the Annual Meeting of the British Medical 
Association, in Norwich, 1874. — Brit. Med. Jour., August 22, 1874. 

" Anaesthesia in Obstetrics. Nelaton's Method of Kcsuscitation from 
Chloroform. Narcosis." Eead before the British Medical Association, August 
22, 1874.— Amer. Jour. Med. Sc, October, 1874. 

" Utero-Gastrotomy." A communication to the New York State Medical 
Society, 1875. — New York Med. Bee, February 15, 1875 ; Amer. Jour. Med. 
Sc, April, 1875. 

"Lecture on Vesico- Vaginal Fistula." — Pac. Med. and Surg. Jour., San 
Francisco, Cal., 1875. 

Same reprinted in Med. Herald, Leavenworth, 1875. 

" Address as President of the American Medical Association, January 6, 
1876." — " Transactions of the American Medical Association, 1876." 

Eeprinted by Collins, Philadelphia, 1876. 

" Legislation and Contagious Diseases ; an Extract from the Inaugural 
Address delivered before the American Medical Association, at its Twenty- 
seventh Annual Meeting, in Philadelphia, June 6, 1876." 8vo, pp. 14. Phila- 
delphia : Collins, printer. 1S76. — Extracted from " Transactions of the Ameri- 
can Medical Association." 

" Legislation and Contagious Diseases ; an Extract from the Inaugural Ad- 
dress delivered before the American Medical Association, at its Twenty-seventh 
Annual Meeting, in Philadelphia, June 6, 1876." 8vo, pp. 16. London : 
Spottiswoode. 1876. 

" Epithelioma of the Cervix Uteri." Eead before the British Medical As- 
sociation, August 2, 1876.— Brit. Med. Jour., August 20, 1876. Pp. 277. 

" The Woman's Hospital in 1874. A reply to the Printed Circulars of Dr. 
E. E. Peaslee, T. A. Emmett, and T. Gaillard Thomas's Address to the Medi- 
cal Profession, May 5, 1877." 8vo, pp. 24. New York: Kent & Co., print- 
ers. 1877. 

" Discovery of Anaesthesia." With engraved portrait of the discoverers, 
Dr. Crawford W. Long and Horace Wells. Pp. 14. — Richmond Med. Monthly, 

11 The Discovery of Anaesthesia." Pp. 20. Eeprinted from the Eichmond 
Med. Monthly. J. W. Ferguson & Son. 1877. 

" Professor Lister's Introduction on Antiseptic Surgery. Letter from 
Paris." Paris, October 10, 1877. Pp. 60S.— Brit. Med. Jour., October 27, 1877. 

" Battey's Operation." 8vo, pp. 31. London, 1878. Edited by Frichos. 
Eeprinted from the Brit. Med. Jour., December, 1877. 

" Extracts from an Essay upon Battey's Operation, in the British Medical 
Journal, December, 1877." 8vo, pp. 2. (N. P. N. D.) 


" Bemarks on Battey's Operation." — Brit. Med. Jour., December 8, 1877, 
p. 79-3 ; continued in December 15, p. 840 ; December 22, p. 881 ; concluded 
December 29, 1877, p. 916. 

" Cholecystotomy in Dropsy of tbe Gall Bladder. Case operated in April, 
1S7S." — Brit. Med. Jour., June, 1878. — Gaillard's Medical Journal. 

" Bemarks on Cholecystotomy in Dropsy of the Gall Bladder." — Brit. 
Med. Jour., June 8, 1S78, p. 811-S15. — Gaillard's Medical Journal. 

" The Operations of Simpson and Sims for Stenosis of the Cervix Uteri 
compared." Bead before the British Medical Association, at Bath, August 8, 
1878. Beported in Brit. Med. Jour., September 7, 1878, p. 865. — Gaillard's 
Medical Journal. 

"Surgical Instruments exhibited at International Exhibition in Paris: 
Uterine Curette, Bistoury Holder, Uterine Dilator." Illustrated. — P. 704 
Brit. Med. Jour, for November 9, 1878. 

" On the Surgical Treatment of Stenosis of the Cervix Uteri." — Extracts 
" American Gynaecological Society." Vol. III., p. 54. 1878. 

'* On the Extraction of Eoreign Bodies from the Ear." — Brit. Med. Jour., 
London, December 14, 1878, p. 868. 

" On the Surgical Treatment of Stenosis of the Cervix Uteri." With dis- 
cussion. — " Transactions of the American Gynaecological Society, 1878." Bos- 
ton. 1879. Vol. 1TI. 

" Cholecystotomie pour l'Extraction des Calculs dans l'Hydropsie de la 
Vesicule Biliare." Trad, de 1' Anglais par Eontain et Bargemont. — Eev. de 
Lit. Med. pour 1878. Vol. ID. 1879. 

" History of the Discovery of Anaesthesia." New York. 1879. Pp. 14. 
Portrait. Beprinted from Virginia Med. Monthly, 1879. — Gaillard's Medi- 
cal Journal. 

" On Syringing the Ear." Letter. — Brit. Med. Jour., February 1, 1879. 

" A Forceps Case." Letter— Brit. Med. Jour., February 22, 1879. 

" Bemarks on Abscesses of the Liver, made before the Medical Society of 
Virginia, at its Tenth Annual Session, held at Alexandria, October 26, 1879." 
8vo°pp. 6. (N. P.) 1879. 

" The Treatment of Epithelioma of the Cervix Uteri." 8vo, pp. 41. New 
York : Win. Wood & Co. 1879. Beported from Arner. Med. Jour of Oos., 
N. Y. Vol. XH. 1879. 

"Cholecystotomy." Translated by Dr. Spaak.— Jb?/r. de Med. Chir. et 
Pliar. Brux., 1879. Beprinted in other French and foreign journals. 

"Diagnosis of Abscesses of the Liver by Symptoms of Cerebral Hypere- 
mia, with some remarks on the Treatment of Hepatic Abscess by Aspiration." 
" Transactions of the Virginia Medical Society, 1879." The same in the 
Southern Practitioner. Nashville, 1880. 

" The Bromide of Ethyl as an Anaesthetic." Bead before the New York 
Academv of Medicine, March 18, 1880, with discussion. 8vo, pp. 22. New 
York. 1880. Also Medical Record, N. Y., 1880. — Gaillard's Medical 

" The Treatment of Epithelioma of the Cervix Uteri." — Amer. Jour. Obs., 


N. Y., 1879. Reprinted in GaillardPs Journal, JV. Y,, 1880. Also printed 
in French in the Annales Gynozcologicales pour 1880. Also in pamphlet, 
February, 1880. 

" Bromide of Ethyl as an Anaesthetic." Eeprinted in the New York Rec- 
ord, April 3, 1880.— ^*#. Med. Jour., May 14, 1880. 

" Thomas Keith and Ovariotomy." 8vo, pp. 16, Part I. New York: W. 
Wood & Co. 1880. Ecprint from American Journal of Obstetrics, New 
York, April, 1880. Vol. XIII. 

" Pregnancy Vomiting." 8vo. pp. 8. New York: G. P. Putnam & Son. 
18S0. Eeprinted from the Archives of Medicine, June, 1880. 

" Thomas Keith on Ovariotomy." New York. 1880. W. Wood & Co. 
8vo, pp. 16. Portrait. 

" Bromide of Ethyl as an Anaesthetic." — GaillardPs Medical Journal, 
New York, 1880. 

" Thomas Keith and Ovariotomy."— Amer. Jour, of Obs., New York, 1880. 

" Surgeons in Public Journals (Thomas Keith, the great Scotch Ovarioto- 
mist)."— Med. Rev., New York, 1880. 

"Annual Address as President of the American Gynaecological Society, 
18S0." Boston. 1881. Vol. V. GaillardPs Medical Journal. "Trans- 
actions of the American Gynaecological Society." 

"Pregnancy Vomiting." — Archives Med., New York, 1880. The same^ 
8vo, pp. 8. Putnam & Son. 1880. — GaillardPs Medical Journal. 

" Eemarks on the Treatment of Gunshot Wounds of the Abdomen in Ee- 
lation to Modern Peritoneal Surgery." — Brit. Med. Jour., London, 1881. — 
GaillardPs Medical Journal. 

" Supplementary Eemarks." — Brit. Med. Jour., London, 1882, p. 180. Fur- 
ther lemarks, pp. 222 and 260. 

"The Eecent Progress of Peritoneal Surgery." — Med. Rec., New York, 

" The Surgical Treatment of President Garfield."— iV: A. Rev., N. Y., 1881. 

Article on " Sterility in Women." — Johnson's Ci/clopozdia, 1877. 

" Eemarks on the Treatment of Gunshot Wounds of the Abdomen in Ee- 
lation to Peritoneal Surgery." Eead before the New York Academy of Medi 
cine, October 6, 1881. — Brit. Med. Jour., December 10, 1881, p. 925; con- 
tinued December 17, 1881, p. 971 ; February 11, 1882, p. 184; February 
18, 1882, p. 222 ; February 25, 1882, p. 260 ; concluded March 4, 1882, 
p. 302. 

" Treatment of Syphilis."— Brit. Med. Jour., March 10, 1883, pp. 448 and 

As Dr. Sims was a frequent contributor to the current medical 
journals, a more careful study will greatly increase the list. And 
he was an active or corresponding member of many medical socie- 
ties in America and Europe, besides being an honorary member of 
the Edinburgh, Brussels, Berlin, Christiania, Paris, and Dublin so- 


cieties, a Fellow of the Obstetrical Society of London, and numer- 
ous other medical and scientific bodies at home and abroad. 

He was a member of the Alabama State Medical Association, 
New York County and State Medical Society, New York Academy 
of Medicine, New York Neurological, Pathological, and Surgical 
societies, and an honorary member of the Connecticut State Medi- 
cal Society, Virginia, South Carolina, and California State Medical 

Dr. Sims became a member of the American Medical Associ- 
ation in 1852, as a delegate from the Alabama State Medical Asso- 
ciation ; and, in 1858, attended for the Woman's Hospital of New 
York. He also attended meetings of this organization in 1860, 
1872, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877, 1880, and was president of it in 1876. 
He was also a member and president of the American Gynaecologi- 
cal Society, and has contributed ably to its transactions. His skill 
and experience in the obstetrical art led to his engagement to at- 
tend the accouchement of the Empress Eugenie, of France, and also 
to attend the Empress of Austria. His practice in Europe was 
largely among the nobility, from whom he received large fees and 
valuable presents. The doctor visited "Washington city but a few 
months ago, and selected and purchased a most eligible site for a 
residence, and looked forward to the enjoyments of home in that 
city a few years hence, when he should retire from active practice. 

He was, when here, in apparently good health, and certainly 
looked remarkably well, but spoke of the necessity he was under of 
being careful as to diet and exposure. 

Wishing to avoid the rigor of our winters, he proposed to visit 
Italy, and anticipated a delightful visit to Rome, where he spent 
last winter. Some three years since, Dr. Sims suffered from a se- 
vere attack of pneumonia, since which time, in cold weather, some 
unwelcome heart symptoms were from time to time observed. 
Hence, for the past two years, he has passed the winter months in 
the south of France and in Rome, and the remainder of the year in 
other parts of Europe and the United States. 

Dr. Sims was united in marriage, December 21, 1836, to Eliza 
Theresa, daughter of Dr. Bartlett Jones, of Lancaster, South Caro- 
lina, who, with seven children, survives him. His son, Henry Mar- 
ion Sims, is in active practice, and most abundantly inherits the 
ability and skill of his father, whose memory the whole medical 


profession loves to honor, for by his genius the science and the art 
of medicine has been advanced as much, if not more, than by any 
medical man of the present century. Dr. J. Marion Sims's name 
will stand in the history of the progress and discoveries in medi- 
cine, associated with Harvey, Morgagni, Laennec, and other grand 
characters, who have heroically and successfully devoted themselves 
to the science and the art of medicine for the benefit of mankind. 

Biographies of Dr. Sims were published some years since in 
Johnson's u Universal Cyclopedia," in "Physicians and Surgeons 
of the United States," and in the " Virginia Medical Monthly," 
from all of which the material for this sketch has been freely 

An excellent portrait, engraved by R. 0. Brine, from a photo- 
graph by Kurtz, was made some years since. It exhibits the doc- 
tor at about the age of sixty, and wearing his decorations. It also 
contains a facsimile autograph. A fine marble bust of the doctor 
was, in March 12, 1880, presented by the surgical staff of the Jef- 
ferson College Hospital to the Alumni Society of Jefferson College. 
This society has presented it to the trustees of the Jefferson College 
Hospital, and it now occupies a conspicuous place in the hall of that 
institution. In commemoration of the founder of the "Woman's Hos- 
pital of New York, a fine marble bust of Dr. Sims was presented to 
the institution by Mrs. Russell Sage, a few days since, on the twen- 
ty-ninth anniversary. The bust was cut by Dubois, of Paris, and is 
a good likeness of the great apostle of gynaecology, and a splendid 
work of art. 

Dr. Sims's funeral took place, in an unostentatious manner, from 
the Madison Square Presbyterian Church, where he was one of the 
oldest pew-holders, on Friday, November 16th, and was largely at- 
tended by the medical profession and leading citizens of New York. 
The Rev. Charles H. Parkhurst, minister of the church, conducted 
the services, and eulogized the character and achievements of Dr. 
Sims in merited and glowing terms. The interment took place in 
Greenwood Cemetery. Peace to his ashes! 

Remarks of Dr. Joseph Taber Johnson. 

Me. President and Gentlemen: When John Hancock, Presi- 
dent of the Continental Congress, signed his name to the Declara- 
tion of Independence in 1776, it is said that he wrote his signature in 


characters so large and so loud that the cry for liberty, which they 
represented, was heard around the world. 

It may be said with equal truth and propriety that when Marion 
Sims fell so suddenly into the arms of death, the shock was felt 
wherever women suffer or surgery is practiced. 

Hancock, by his eloquence, wisdom, and example, stimulated not 
only his associates but posterity to patriotism, learning, and noble 
deeds. Sims, by his brilliant genius, patient industry, wonderful 
skill, and dexterity saved the lives of many, and made the burden 
of life less irksome to countless numbers of this and future genera- 
tions. TVho shall say that the former is more deserving of fame 
than the latter? 

Poets sing that he who dries a tear or saves a pang to suffering 
woman has rendered a service more praiseworthy than to have 
fought a battle or captured a ship. 

Those who have advocated great principles or instilled pure and 
noble thoughts into the minds of a people; those who have con- 
quered the enemy of the state ; he who by his conquests has added 
to the territorial possessions of his sovereign; statesmen who have 
originated, and by their zeal and ability carried through the Con- 
gress or the Parliament measures for the relief of the oppressed — 
all these have received just praises and adulation during their life, 
and monuments have been erected to perpetuate their memories 
after they were dead. Equally, if not more, are they benefactors 
of their race who devise means for saving life instead of destroying 
it, who by their genius rid the world of a scourge or a plague, as 
well as they who destroy an army or take a city. 

Prominent among the benefactors of mankind would I see the 
honored name inscribed whose useful deeds we have met together 
to recount, and whose virtues it gives us a melancholy pleasure to 

If the sad procession could speak to us to-night — which would 
have gladly and mournfully followed his mortal remains to their 
last resting-place— made up of those directly benefited by the skill 
of this great master in surgery himself, and by the much greater 
host of those indirectly owing their relief from pain and misery to 
him, there would have been no uncertain voice to proclaim that 
this beloved name should occupy a position among the highest and 
noblest upon the pillar of fame. 


Honored, as few have been in our land, by the presidency of the 
American Medical Association — that great representative body of 
physicians — and with the same distinction by the American Gynae- 
cological Society, elected also to membership in scores of medical 
and scientific societies — these distinctions exhibit the esteem in 
which he was held by his countrymen, and also the fact that they 
delighted to do him honor. 

As his reputation increased, so great became his fame that no 
city, State, or country could retain him within its narrow bound- 
ary, and, before his too sudden death had taken him from us for- 
ever, he had been the reluctant recipient of the most flattering evi- 
dences of the regard of the great and the noble in many countries 
in Europe. Kings and queens actually besought him to accept their 
orders and decorations. The order of Knight of the Legion of 
Honor was conferred upon him by the French Government, and he 
was subsequently decorated by the King of the Belgians, also by 
the Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese Governments. 

One of the most remarkable elements in his character, Dr. Em- 
mett said to me only a year ago, was the cool and ready ability 
which he always exhibited in an emergency. His unequaled and 
wonderful quickness to appreciate how best to turn to good account 
some unlooked-for occurrence during the progress of a grave opera- 
tion had been a constant surprise to him. 

This was exemplified in his operation upon a French countess 
whose life had been despaired of by the best medical talent in 
Paris. Sims, believing she could be cured, operated — in her weak- 
ness and prostration — in the presence of many celebrated physi- 
cians, and, when about to close the wound, after the skillful removal 
of the cause of the malady, she apparently expired under the com- 
bined effects of shock and anaesthesia, whereupon a bystander sar- 
castically remarked : " Yes ; your operation is successful, but your 
patient is dead. We could have done as well as that." 

Sims had staked everything upon this, his first prominent opera- 
tion in France, and, stung to the quick by the sarcasm of this skep- 
tical Parisian, he dropped his knife and sprang upon the operating- 
table, remarking, "No, she shall not die," seized her by the feet and 
swung her head downward until the anaemic brain, with the aid of 
gravity, became supplied with blood. Nervous power was gener- 
ated to cause the heart to send a vascular supply to the lungs. The 


patient drew a !::: v r: ~!.e mysterious machinery of Bfc 

moved again slowly in:o action — aDd the countess lived. The opera- 
tion proved to be a success, and Sims's reputation was won. 

Hanging the head downward, in cases of suspended animation 
from chloroform poisoning, was not entirely new or original with 
Sims, but his cool, quick, and successful grasp of the situation n 
the culminating climax which won to him the hearts of the French 
people, ever fond of courage and dashing display when crowned by 

It was not, how--:, by stage effects, parade of wonderful cures, 
or the industrious importunities of partial friends or grateful pa- 
tients, that Sims's glorious and j :'. nal reputation was made. 

This was founded upon the everlasting rock of solid scientific 
attainments, and upon those rure elements combined in one man 
which go to make up, round out, and complete the character of the 
Christian gentleman. It is said of him that no woman ever 
trusted him, while his exceptional purity of speech and life, together 
with the personal magnetism of his smile, his words, his manners, 
attracted many to him and held them chained with the silken cords 
of love, gratitude, and esteem. 

nomas says: "If all that Sims has done for gyna: : 
gy were suppressed we should find that we had retrograded at Ic 
a quarter of a century." 

This, coming from the now most prominent, original, and justly 
celebrated gynaecologist in America, and scarcely second to any 
throughout the world, is praise indeed, and. were it not a sad pleas- 
ure to bis friends and professional admirers to enumerate his many 
achievements for science and humanity, and his many estimable 
qualities of head and heart, it would be a sufficient eulogy, as it 
epitomizes whole discourses, and might constitute an appropriate 
epitaph to inscribe upon his monument. 

I have left it to others to describe his operations and to speak 
of the era in gynaecology inaugurated by the invention of fa : ; 
nlum, and the use of silver- wire sutures in vagino - plastic 

ft _ives me a peculiar pleasure, however, to speak of this great 
man, who has brought such relief to suffering womankind, whose 
reputation is world-wide, who was courted by kings and princes, 
decorated by foreign governments, elected to honorary membership 


in many European societies, and whose name is embalmed in the 
hearts and memories of thousands as a gynaecologist. 

As a gynaecologist he began his career in Alabama, in 1836. In 
1849 his fame in that State culminated in the perfection of his 
method of operating for the cure of vesico and recto-vaginal fistulae. 
In 1853 he moved to New York, and in addition to the building up 
of an extensive and lucrative practice as a gynaecologist, he succeed- 
ed in establishing one of the largest and best-regulated hospitals in 
the world, devoted to the exclusive practice of gynaecology. 

As a gynaecologist he visited Europe, and it was in this capacity 
that unparalleled honors were literally showered upon him, and it 
has ever been in the acquisition of his fame that he wrote, spoke, 
and practiced gynaecology. 

The grand universal school of Medicine claims him with pride as 
one of her brightest and most particular stars, and is now every- 
where engaged in her journals and societies in doing honor to his 
memory. The more particular division of Surgery claims him as one 
of her most skillful and renowned operators, and every professor of 
surgery has ere this spoken to his class of the glory of his career. 
But, Mr. President, though Medicine universal may claim him, though 
surgery more especially may claim him, it is the specialty of Gynae- 
cology which owns him, which cultivated and produced him, which 
he honored in his life and which loves to honor him in his death. 

It is sad to think that his last years were too full of cares, occu- 
pation, and ill health to permit him to finish the great literary work 
of his life, which would recount for the benefit of posterity the vari- 
ous steps by which he reached the elevated plane upon which he 
stood. He said to me in his parlor at the Arlington Hotel, during 
his recent visit to Washington, in answer to my regrets that its publi- 
cation had been so long delayed, with a sadness and pathos in his 
voice which I shall never forget : " My dear doctor, I shall never 
live to complete it. There are plenty of others to take up the work 
where I leave it, and I have more important things to do in the lit- 
tle of life remaining to me than to write of what I have done in the 

There is a sadness also in viewing the elevation of any man to a 
plane so high above his fellows that he has no equals of whom to 
take council, or for daily, friendly intercourse ; but this sadness has 
its alleviation in the contemplation of our honored, loved, and 



trusted friend, standing so high in the clouds, upon the topmost 
round of the ladder of fame, that it was but a step for him over into 
the confines of that celestial country where the weary are at rest 
for ever. 

Retnar'ks by Dr. W. W. Johnston. 

The great apostle of hero worship has said that " Universal his- 
tory ... is at bottom the history of the great men who have 
worked here. . . . All things that we see standing accomplished in 
the world are properly the outer material result, the practical real- 
ization and embodiment of thoughts that dwelt in the great men 
sent into the world, the soul of the whole world's history, it may 
justly be considered, were the history of these." Is this doctrine 
true, or is it not nearer the truth to hold that great men do but utter 
the thoughts of thousands not great, and ''that all things that we 
see standing accomplished in the world are the practical realization 
and embodiment " of the strife and travail of the unfamed, often of 
the unknown ? Events make men, and are not made by them. It 
took many years of discontent and liberty-craving in England to 
make a Cromwell. He came to the top as the ablest representative 
of the long-suffering spirit of rebellion against tyranny and intoler- 
ance. He did not make the revolution. The revolution made him. 
But none the less honor is due to those great names which mark 
the epochs of the world's history. That these great men did em- 
body in themselves the power and intellect of thousands, gifted with 
intelligence and aiming at the same ends, is the highest tribute to 
their genius and fame. Their deeds, however, rank not as miracu- 
lous outbursts of genius, but take their place in the orderly proces- 
sion of events which mark the evolution of man's growing domin- 
ion over ignorance and nature. 

The knowledge of the diseases of women lay sleeping during 
centuries. The structure of society in Catholic Europe and among 
the Arabs, by the peculiar relations fixed between men and women, 
put a stop to all scientific and practical investigation. Even after 
all barriers were removed, the time was very long before a real gain 
was made. The time was ripe when Sims patiently began to work 
out problems which were essential to operative gynaecology. Even 
slavery had its uses in the pursuit of his ends. Who can tell how 
many more years the progress of the art might have been delayed, 


if tbe humble negro servitors had not brought their willing suffer- 
ings and patient endurance to aid in the furthering of Sims's pur- 

In looking at the after-life of the successful surgeon, we are apt 
to overlook the struggles with many obstacles during the earlier 
years of his life. The soul of Sims must have been a supersensitive 
one. We know that beneath a quiet exterior there slumbered emo- 
tions which were the necessary accompaniment of his delicate cere- 
bral organization. Such men do not go through life without many 
crosses. That tenderness which drew all men and women to him 
was the expression of an impressionable nerve-tissue which reacted 
to tbe slightest touch of harshness as to a wound. 

The life of Sims marked an epoch in medical history. He lived 
to see a new science born, to watch it grow into the perfection of 
exact beauty and proportion, and he died with dreams of great 
things yet to be done filling the chambers of his capacious mind. 

After which Dr. J. M. Toner read a carefully prepared biography 
of Dr. Sims, which appears in the first department of this number. 
The resolutions reported were unanimously adopted, and then this 
historical meeting in connection with Dr. Sims silently adjourned. 

Note. — An eloquent and handsome eulogy was pronounced by 
Dr. S. C. Busey, but no report of his remarks was made. 



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Mr. Hall is well known as the editor for many years of the London "Art Jour- 
nal," as author of "The Stately Homes of England, 1 ' and numerous books pre- 
pared in conjunction with his wife, Mrs. S. C. Hall. Mr. Hall was at one time a 
parliamentary reporter; he succeeded Campbell as editor of " The New Monthly 
Magazine," and was editorially associated with other periodicals. During his 
long connection with letters he met many men of note ; in fact, he has something 
to say in this book of almost every person who has occupied public attention 
during the past sixty years. 

"It was eminently proper and desirable that Mr. Hall should write his recol- 
lections, for his life, in addition to its great length, was passed in circumstances 
that fitted him to write of persons and events in which the world has an undying 
interest. The book is very readable, and it is worth beine read. Mr. Hall's rec- 
ollections of Americans are not numerous, but they are always appreciative." — 
New York Times. 

" Mr. S. C. Hall has given us not a diary or compilation of second-hand mate- 
rials, but genuine reminiscences of men and events that he has personally seen 
in the course of an active professional career that covers more than sixty years. 
He has made an exceedingly entertaining book, that deserves a place of honor 
among the volumes of reminiscences that have of late been issued with such pro- 
fusion from the American press." — New York Sun. 

JOHN KEESE: "Wit and Litterateur. A Biographical Memoir. By 

William L. Keese. Small 4to, cloth, gilt top, §1.25. 

John Keese was a popular book-auctioneer of New York thirty years ago, 
whose witticisms were the town talk. " If John Keese should quit the auctioneer 
business, I should die oi ennui" exclaimed one of his admirers. Mr. Keese was 
known to all the literary people of his day, and these memoirs contain reminis- 
cences and anecdotes of literary circles in New York a generation ago that will 
be valued by those who like glances at past local conditions. 


J. Nicoll. 12mo, vellum cloth, $1.75. 

"The plan adopted in this book has been to deal solely with the very greatest 
names in the several departments of Enelish literature — with those writers whose 
works are among the most imperishable elories of Britain, and with whom it is 
a disgrace for even the busiest to remain unacquainted." — From Preface. 

"We can warmly recommend this excellent manual." — St. James's Gazette. 

" The ' Landmarks of Enslish Literature" is a work of exceptional value. It 
reveals scholarship and high literary ability. Mr. Nicoll has a proper conception 
of the age in which he lives, and of its reauireraents in the special line in which 
he has attempted to work."— New York Herald. 

New York : D. APPLETON & CO., 1, 3, & 5 Bond Street. 


ERRORS IN THE USE OF ENGLISH. By the late William 

B. Hodgson, LL. D., Professor of Political Economy in the University 

of Edinburgh. American revised edition. 12mo, cloth, $1.50. 

" This posthumous work of Dr. Hodgson deserves a hearty welcome, for it is 
sure to do good service for the object it has in view— improved accuracy in the 
use of the English language. . . . Perhaps its chief use will be in very distinctly 
proving with what wonderful carelessness or incompetency the English language 
is generally written. For the examples of error here brought together are not 
picked from obscure or inferior writings. Among the grammatical sinners whose 
trespasses are here recorded appear many of our best-known authors and publi- 
cations."— The Academy. 


Carefully revised and annotated by Alfred Ayres. -With Index. 
18mo, cloth, extra, $1.00. 

" I know it well, and have read it with great admiration."— Richard Grant 

" Cobbett's Grammar is probably the most readable grammar ever written. 
For the purposes of self-education it is unrivaled. Persons that studied grammar 
when at school and failed to comprehend its principles— and there are many such 
— as well as those that never have studied grammar at all, will find the book 
specially suited to their needs. Any one of average intelligence that will give it 
a careful reading will be rewarded with at least a tolerable knowledge of the 
subject, as nothing could be more simple or more lucid than its expositions."— 
From the Preface. 

THE ORTHOEPIST : A Pronouncing Manual, containing about 

Three Thousand Five Hundred Words, including a Considerable 

Number of the Names of Foreign Authors, Artists, etc.. that are 

often mispronounced. By Alfred Ayres. 18mo, cloth, extra, $1.00. 

" It gives us pleasure to say that we think the author, in the treatrent of this 
very difficult and intricate subject, English pronunciation, gives proof of not only 
an unusual degree of orthoepical knowledge, but also, for the most part, of rare 
judgment and taste." — Joseph Thomas, LL. D., in Literary World. 

THE VERBALIST : A Manual devoted to Brief Discussions of the 
Right and the Wrong Use of Words, and to some other matters of 
Interest to those who would Speak and Write with Propriety, includ- 
ing a Treatise on Punctuation. By Alfred Ayres. 18mo, cloth, 
extra, $1.00. 

" This is the best kind of an English grammar. It teaches the right use of 
our mother-tongue by giving instances of the wrong use of it, and showing why 
they are wrong."— The Churchman. 

" Every one can learn something from this volume, and most of us a great 
deal.**— Springfield Republican. 

New York : D. APPLETON & CO., 1, 3, & 5 Bond Street. 


New revised edition of Bancrofts History of the United States. 

of the Continent to the Establishment of the Constitution in 1789. 
By George Bancroft. An entirely new edition, partly rewritten 
and thoroughly revised. 6 vols., 8vo, printed from new type, and 
bound in cloth, uncut, with gilt top, $2.50 ; sheep, $3.50 ; half calf, 
$4.50 per volume. Vols. I to V ready. 

In this edition of his great work the author has made extensive 
changes in the text, condensing in places, enlarging in others, and care- 
fully revising. It is practically a new work, embodying the results of the 
latest researches, and enjoying the advantage of the author's long and 
mature experience. The original octavo edition was published in twelve 
volumes. The present edition will be completed in six volumes, each 
volume containing about twice as much matter. 

" On comparing this work with the corresponding volume of the ' Centena- 
ry ' edition of 18T6, one is surprised to see how extensive changes the author 
has found desirable, even after so short an interval. The first thiug that strikes 
one is the increased number of chapters, resulting from subdivision. The first 
volume contains two volumes of the original, and is divided into thirty-eight 
chapters instead of eighteen. This is in itself an improvement. But the new 
arrangement is not the result merely of subdivision ; the matter is rearranged in 
such a manner as vastly to increase the lucidity and continuousness of treat- 
ment. In the present edition Mr. Bancroft returns to the principle of division 
into periods, abandoned in the 'Centenary' edition. Eis division is, however, 
a new one. As the permanent shape taken by a great historical work, this new 
arrangement is certainly an improvement.'"— The Nation {New York). 

" The work as a whole is in better shape, and is of course more authoritative 
than ever before. This last revision will be without doubt, both from its desir- 
able form and accurate text, the standard one." — Boston Traveller. 

" It has not been granted to many historians to devote half a century to the 
history of a single people, and to live long enough, snd, let us add, to be willing 
and wise enough, to revise and rewrite in an honored old age the work of a 
whole lifetime."— New York Mail and Express. 

" The extent and thoroughness of this revision would hardlv be guessed with- 
out comparing the editions side by side. The condensation of the text amounts 
to something over one third of the previous edition. There has also been very 
considerable recasting of the text. On the whole, our examination of the first 
volume leads us to believe that the thought of the historian loses nothing: by the 
abbreviation of the text. A closer and later approximation to the best results of 
scholarship and criticism is reached. The public gains by its more compact 
brevity and in amount of matter, and in economy of time and money." — The In- 
dependent {New York). 

" There is nothing to be said at this day of the value of ' Bancroft.' Its au- 
thority is no longer in dispute, and as a piece of vivid and realistic historical 
writing it stands among the best works of its class. It may betaken for granted 
that this new edition will greatly extend its usefulness."— Philadelphia North 

New York : D. APPLETON & CO., 1, 3, & 5 Bond Street. 



from the Revolution to the Civil War. By John Bach McMaster. 
To be completed in five volumes. Volume I, Svo, cloth, gilt top, 

Scope of the Work.— In the course of this narrative much is written of wars, 
conspiracies, and rebellions ; of Presidents, of Congresses, of embassies, of treaties, 
of the ambition of political leaders, and of the rise of great parties in the nation. 
Yet the history of the people is the chief theme. At every stage of the splendid 
progress which separates the America of Washington and Adams from the Amer- 
ica in which we live, it has been the author^s purpose to describe the dress, the 
occupations, the amusements, the literary canons of the times ; to note the changes 
of manners and morals ; to trace the growth of that humane spirit which abol- 
ished punishment for debt, and reformed the discipline of prisons and of jails; to 
recount the manifold improvements which, in a thousand ways, have multiplied 
the conveniences of life and ministered to the happiness of our race; to describe the 
rise and progress of that long series of mechanical inventions and discoveries which 
is now the admiration of the world, and our just pride and boast ; to tell how, 
under the benign influence of liberty and peace, there sprang up, in the course of a 
single century, a prosperity unparalleled in the annals of human affairs. 

" The pledge Riven "by Mr. McMaster, that ' the history of the people shall he 
the chief theme.' is punctiliously and satisfactorily fulfilled. He carries out hie 
promise in a complete, vivid, and delightfnl way. We should add that the liter- 
ary execution of the work is worthy of the inaefatigable industry and unceasing 
vigilance with which the stores of historical material have been accumulated, 
weighed, and sifted. The cardinal qualities of style, lucidity, animation, and 
energy, are everywhere present. Seldom, indeed, has a hook, in which matter 
of substantial value has been so happily united to attractiveness of form, been 
offered by an American author to his fellow-citizens." — New York Sun. 

11 To recount the marvelous progress of the American people, to describe 
their life, their literature, their occupations, their amusements, is Mr. McMaeter's 
object. His theme is an important one, and we congratulate him on his success. 
It has rarely been our province to notice a book with so many excellences and 
so few defects." — New York Herald. 

"Mr. McMaster at once shows his grasp of the various themes and his special 
capacity as a historian of the people. His aim is high, but he hits the mark." — 
New York Journal of Commerce. 

"I have had to read a good deal of history in my day, but I find so much 
freshness in the way Professor McMaster has treated his subject that it is quite 
like a new story."— Philadelphia Press. 

"Mr. McMaster' s success as a writer seems to us distinct and decisive. In 
the first place he has written a remarkably readable history. His style is clear 
and vigorous, if not always condensed. He has the faculty of felicitous com- 
parison and contrast in a marked degree. Mr. McMaster has produced one of 
the most spirited of histories, a book which will he widely read, and the enter- 
taining quality of which is conspicuous beyond that of any work of its kind." — 
Boston Gazette. 

New York : D. APPLETON & CO., 1, 3, & 5 Bond Street. 


A GEOGRAPHICAL READER. A Collection of Geographical 
Descriptions and Narrations, from the best "Writers in English Lit- 
erature. Classified and arranged to meet the wants of Geographical 
Students, and the higher grades of reading classes. By James 
Johonnot, author of " Principles and Practice of Teaching." 12mo, 
cloth, $1.25. 

"Mr. Johonnot has made a good hook, which, if judiciously used, will stop 
the immense waste of time now spent in most schools in the study of geography 
to little purpose. The volume has a good number of appropriate illustrations, 
and is printed and bound in almost faultless style and taste." — National Journal 
of Education. 

It is original and unique in conception and execution. It is varied in style, 
and treats of every variety of geographical topic. It supplements the geograph- 
ical text-books, and, by giving additional interest to the study, it leads the pupil 
to more extensive geographical reading and research. It is not simply a collec- 
tion of dry statistics and outline descriptions, but vivid narrations of great liter- 
ary merit, that convey useful information and promote general culture. It con- 
forms to the philosophic ideas upon which the new education is based. Its 
selections are from the best standard authorities. It is embellished with numer- 
ous and appropriate illustrations. 

A NATURAL HISTORY READER, for Schools and Homes. 

Beautifully illustrated. Compiled and edited by James Johonnot. 

12mo, cloth, $1.25. 

" The natural turn that children have for the country, and for birds and beasts, 
wild and tame, is taken advantage of very wisely by Mr. Johonnot, who has had 
experience in teaching and in making school-books. His selections are generally 
excellent. Articles by renowned naturalists, and interesting papers by men 
who, if not renowned, can put things pointedly, alternate with serious and 
humorous verse. ' The Popular Science Monthly 1 has furnished much material. 
The 'Atlantic' and the works of John Burroughs are contributors also. There 
are illustrations, and the compiler has some sensible advice to offer teachers in 
regard to the way in which to interest young people in matters relating to na- 
ture."— New York Times. 

AN HISTORICAL READER, for Classes in Academies, High- 
Schools, and Grammar-Schools. By Henry E. Shepherd, M. A. 
12mo, cloth, $1.25. 

" This book is one of the most important text-books issued within our recol- 
lection. The preface is a powerful attack upon the common method of teaching 
history by means of compendiums and abridgments. Professor Shepherd has 
* long advocated the beginning of history-teaching by the use of graphic and lively 
sketches of those illustrious characters around whom the historic interest of each 
age is concentrated.' This volume is an attempt to embody this idea in a form 
for practical Use. Irving, Motley. Macaulay, Prescott, Greene, Fronde, Momm- 
sen, Guizot, and Gibbon are among the authors represented ; and the subjects 
treated cover nearly all the greatest events and greatest characters of time. The 
book is one of indescribable interest. The boy or girl who is not fascinated by 
it must be dull indeed. Blessed be the day when it shall be introduced into our 
high-schools, in the place of the dry and wearisome ' facts and figures ' of the 
4 general history ' I "—Iowa Normal Monthly. 

New York r D. APPLETON & CO., 1, 3, & 5-Bond Street. 


ard Chenevix Trench, D. D. New edition. 12mo. Cloth, 

ard Chenevix Trench, D. D. New edition. 12mo. Cloth, 

D. D., author of " The Conflict of Ages." 12lno. Cloth, 

IMPORTANT SUBJECTS. By Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. 
Revised edition. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50. 

CONTENTS.— Industry and Idleness ; Twelve Causes of Dishonesty; 
Six Warnings ; Portrait Gallery ; Gamblers and Gambling ; The Strange 
Woman ; Popular Amusements ; Practical Hints ; Profane Swearing ; 
Vulgarity ; Happiness ; Temperance. 

THE BOOK OF JOB : Essays and a Metrical Paraphrase. By 
Rossiter W. Raymond, Ph. D. With an Introductory Note 
by the Rev. T. J. Conant, D. D. 12mo. Cloth, $1.25. 


the author of " The Pulpit Cyclopaedia." 1 vol., 8vo. Cloth, 



1 vol., 8vo. 600 pages. Cloth, $2.50. 

" The Pulpit Cyclopaedia." 1 large vol., 8vo. Cloth, $2.50. 

New York: D. APPLETON & CO., 1, 3, & 5 Bond Street. 




The Popttlap. Seizors Monthly will continue, as heretofore, to snpply 
its readers with, the results of the Litest investigation and the most valuable 
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Leaving the dry and technical details of -^hich are of chief con- 

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The wide range of its discussions includes, among other topics : 

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New York: D. APFLETOH & CO., Publishers, 1, 3, & 5 Bond Street. 









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